The Latest: Seahawks to play first 3 home games without fans

Sports

FILE — In this file photo from July 6, 2020, Pine-Richland High School quarterback Cole Spencer, right, and teammates stretch during their first practice of the season, at Richland Elementary in Pine-Richland Township near Warrendale, Pa. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) governing body for Pennsylvania interscholastic sports signaled again Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, that it’s seriously considering moving ahead with the fall season despite the governor’s recommendation that all youth athletics be canceled until 2021. (Steph Chambers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Seattle Seahawks will play at least their first three home games without fans in the stands at CenturyLink Field.

The team said in a statement Wednesday the decision was made in conjunction with public health officials and the office of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Seattle will be without fans for games on Sept. 20 vs. New England, Sept. 27 vs. Dallas, and Oct. 11 vs. Minnesota. The earliest the Seahawks may have fans is Nov. 1 against San Francisco.

While the team hopes conditions will improve as the season progresses, it will “follow the lead of public health and government officials to make future decisions about game day.” If it’s determined a limited capacity will be allowed later in the season, the Seahawks will reach out to season ticket holders at that time.

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Alaska-Anchorage is dropping its men’s hockey, women’s gymnastics and men’s and women’s skiing programs because of significant reductions in state funding. The programs will shut down in the 2021-22 academic year and save the university about $2.5 million per year.

Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said state funding for UAA has declined $34 million since 2014. She called her decision to cut sports “devastating.”

The move is not entirely related to budget strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Last fall the Board of Regents voted to consolidate academic programs and services to meet budget reductions. University leaders and Gov. Dunleavy agreed on a $70 million reduction in state funds to the university system from 2020-22.

About 55 athletes, seven coaches and two athletic department staff members are impacted.

The athletic department already cut $1 million in expenses over the last two years.

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Army and Brigham Young have agreed to a home-and-home football series, with the first game between the two independents slated for Sept. 19 at Michie Stadium as both schools piece together new schedules.

The second game in the series is scheduled for November 2032 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

The two schools have never met in football and both are scrambling to fill schedules that were pretty much wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Army lost games against Bucknell, Princeton, Oklahoma, UMass, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio, and Buffalo, while BYU lost eight games.

The Black Knights have yet to finalize their schedule, but they open the season Sept. 5 at Michie Stadium against Middle Tennessee State. BYU opens its season on Sept. 7 at Navy.

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North Carolina has immediately suspended athletics activities for all sports teams for at least 24 hours due to a “continued upward trend in positive COVID-19 tests on campus.”

In Wednesday’s announcement, the school said the pause would last until at least 5 p.m. Thursday. That came two days after UNC canceled in-person undergraduate classes in favor of remote instruction.

The move includes the closure of campus recreation facilities, though dining halls and libraries will remain open in limited capacity.

In a statement, athletics director Bubba Cunningham said school officials “want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that that our teams, campus and community remain healthy.‘’

Athletes will have continued access to services such as academic support and medical care.

The decision to switch to remote instruction was made after four coronavirus clusters in student housing and a fraternity surfaced in the past week. The school plans to allow athletes, international students, ROTC students and students with hardships such as the lack of online access at home to remain in campus housing if they choose.

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Notre Dame canceled its Wednesday football practice and might take Thursday off as well in response to the school’s decision to go to online classes because of a coronavirus outbreak on campus.

The Rev. John Jenkins, the Notre Dame president, announced in-person undergraduate classes would be canceled through Sept. 2. About 150 students have tested positive.

Notre Dame is imposing restrictions on student activity, including limiting access to dormitories to residents and barring students from major gathering places on campus.

The Fighting Irish football program announced last week there have been four positive test results for COVID-19 out of 619 tests done since players returned to campus in June.

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Wake Forest all-conference wide receiver Sage Surratt has opted out of the coming season to prepare for the NFL draft amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Surratt announced his decision Wednesday on social media, citing “the many uncertainties and risks associated with COVID-19.” Surratt said he’s set to earn an economics degree in December, saying the school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has “forever transformed my life.”

“My experience at Wake Forest has been extraordinary, and I leave with a humble and grateful heart,” Surratt said.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound redshirt junior made The Associated Press’ All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team last season after hauling in 66 catches for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games before going down with an injury. The 1,001 yards were the best for all power-conference receivers at the time of the injury, with four games of at least 150 yards last season.

Surratt’s brother, Chazz, plays linebacker at North Carolina after starting his career as a quarterback and is also an NFL prospect.

UNC team spokesman Jeremy Sharpe says in an email that Chazz Surratt’s status remains unchanged.

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Appalachian State has paused football practices after reporting a coronavirus cluster involving the team.

The school in Boone, North Carolina, says athletic director Doug Gillin has suspended practice “until further consultation warrants a change in status.”

The decision announced Tuesday night comes after there were active cases reported for seven students and four staffers. The school said health officials have instructed the individuals to isolate while recovering, while those in close contact with the active cases have been instructed to quarantine.

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The largest 10-kilometer road race in the United States will be run virtually in 2020.

The Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, which has been held on the Fourth of July since its inaugural event in 1970, shifted to a Thanksgiving date in hopes of staging the race during the coronavirus pandemic. It normally attracts some 60,000 runners.

But the Atlanta Track Club now says the race will not be run down the city’s famed Peachtree Street because of safety concerns. Georgia has been one of the nation’s hardest-hit states during the pandemic, recording nearly 250,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,700 deaths.

“As coronavirus has spiked in recent weeks here in Georgia, we recognize that this decision is the best and only responsible way forward,” executive director Rich Kenah said in a statement.

The track club now plans a virtual event that will allow runners to experience some of the race’s traditions and compare their times with others who take part.

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The Georgia Bulldogs are planning to have some fans for their football games played between the hedges.

The university announced ticket plans that call for allowing 20 to 25% capacity at 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium, where the field is surrounded by hedges. That would mean maximum crowds of between 18,500 and 23,000 for Georgia’s four home games in 2020.

The Bulldogs are offering single-game tickets in hopes of accommodating as many season ticket holders as possible for games against Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

The school says those who choose not to attend games this fall will be eligible for a refund on all donations and season ticket purchases, while retaining their preferred status for 2021.

Tickets will cost $150 per game.

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Roma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante says he has the coronavirus but is currently asymptomatic.

The 37-year-old Mirante says in a video on Instagram that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation.

He says “I feel well, I have no symptoms, neither a fever nor a cough.”

The news comes a day after Roma announced that two of its youth team players had tested positive for the virus.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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