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Thursday March 4th, 2021 8:47PM

The Latest: Positive tests prompt pause to Memphis football

By The Associated Press

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

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Memphis has paused football practice and all group activities for the team, saying a “number of individuals” with the program have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tigers are scheduled to host Houston on Sept. 18 in a prime-time game on national TV. A decision on whether Memphis will be able to play Houston will be announced early next week.

University officials say the positive tests and contact tracing indicate most of the cases are linked to social events outside of team activities. Combined with contract tracing, Memphis says a “significant number” are in quarantine in keeping with CDC guidelines.

University officials say there are no serious cases but that all players and staff affected are being closely monitored.

The Tigers opened the season by beating Arkansas State 37-24 on Sept. 5

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Washington State’s athletic department will cut 10 full-time jobs and top coaches will take a voluntary 15% pay cut to help deal with budget problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletic director Pat Chun, football coach Nick Rolovich and men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith are taking the 15% pay cuts, the school said Friday. Women’s basketball coach Kamie Ethridge will take a 12.5% salary reduction.

Every other head coach, assistant coach and contracted staff member has been asked, or mandated, to take a 10% salary reduction, the Pac-12 school said.

In addition, all non-contracted staff members are required to take two furlough weeks by Nov. 20, and two more weeks between Feb. 1-June 1, 2021.

Chun said the goal is to cut into a $30 million loss in athletic department revenue this fall because of the pandemic.

Washington State was already facing financial woes nefore COVID-19. The athletic department has a debt of about $100 million from the construction of a football operations building, stadium upgrades and other spending in the past decade.

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Vanderbilt has announced the Commodores will start the fall season in all sports without any fans at home events through October.

Athletic director Candice Lee said Friday that health and safety concerns about COVID-19 is why Vanderbilt is keeping fans away. She says this is the new normal environment where the focus is on keeping everyone healthy and as safe as possible. Playing without fans will allow officials to focus on minimizing risk to students and coaches, and Lee says that will help their ability to finish the season.

Vanderbilt hosts sixth-ranked and defending national champ LSU on Oct. 3 with South Carolina visiting Oct. 10 and Mississippi on Oct. 31. Attendance was announced at 32,048 for Vanderbilt’s game last season against LSU at the Southeastern Conference’s smallest stadium.

The university will be offering fans virtual programming that includes a virtual tailgate and live pregame show to make up for not being able to attend games.

Lee said Vanderbilt will continue consulting with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local public health experts to decide fan attendance for events after October.

Vanderbilt is located less than five miles from Nissan Stadium where the NFL’s Tennessee Titans will host Jacksonville on Sept. 20 for their home opener with no fans in the stands. Nashville’s MLS team also is playing without fans at Nissan through September.

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Duke is taking additional steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during fall sports. That includes daily testing of athletes, coaches and staff in football, soccer, volleyball and field hockey.

University President Vincent E. Price announced those steps Friday, with the daily testing focusing on the sports considered to be of higher transmission risk for transmission by the Atlantic Coast Conference’s medical advisory group.

The school will require athletes in those sports to sequester in designated residential areas after competitions until cleared to return to the campus community through testing and monitoring.

Price says teams will all travel by charter bus or plane and will ideally leave and return to campus on the same day.

The school had previously announced that it will begin the football and fall sports seasons with no fans at home competitions.

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

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