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Friday September 24th, 2021 4:26PM

The Latest: NBA's Cavaliers get OK to boost home attendance

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

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been given permission to increase their attendance at home games.

The team received a letter Thursday from the state of Ohio, which has granted a second variance and will allow the Cavs to have 2,720 (14%) inside 19,000-seat Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It’s a bump of 4% of what had previously been allowed.

The change takes effect immediately. The Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday and Saturday.

Last week, the Cavs held a Zoom meeting with state officials to outline their plans to accommodate more fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team would like to get another increase if possible.

Cleveland is one of eight NBA franchises currently allowing fans.

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West Virginia is boosting home attendance to 2,800, or 20% of capacity, for the men’s basketball game Feb. 13 between the 17th-ranked Mountaineers and No. 9 Oklahoma.

No fans, except for essential personnel and the players’ and coaches’ families, were allowed at home games in Morgantown, West Virginia, over the first two months of the season. Attendance was limited to 1,000 for the Jan. 30 Florida game and 1,500 for the upcoming game Saturday against No. 23 Kansas.

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The Canisius athletic department announced Thursday that the Golden Griffin women’s basketball program will not complete the remainder of the season due to health and safety concerns.

The school, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, said the decision was made after conversations between the athletes, coaching staff and athletic department administration.

The Griffs have not been able to play a game since Dec. 20, and the team’s current pause will not allow it to return to game action until at least Feb. 18. Injuries also have affected the roster, and that has impacted the program’s ability to safely practice and compete.

Canisius joins Duke, SMU, Virginia, and San Jose State among women's basketball programs that have opted to stop playing.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that it was canceling the Division III winter championships due to low participation numbers among member schools.

Canisius said it will maintain its current schedule of competition in other sports.

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The National Lacrosse League says its plans for an abbreviated season this spring have been canceled due to uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The league will now move to start a traditional season in the fall. NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz says the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border, forced the league to pivot.

The exact start date of a full season will be announced at a later date, and it will stretch into 2022.

The NLL is comprised of 14 franchises across the United States and Canada.

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The WTA’s Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina will conduct its April tournament without fans because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Event organizers announced the decision Thursday. The tournament is traditionally the first clay-court tournament of the season.

The tournament was canceled last April because of the coronavirus and organizers began ticket sales in November for this year’s event.

Tournament director Bob Moran said for the Volvo Car Open to comply with health and safety protocols, measures would have to begin this week. However, with the pandemic still affecting South Carolina, Moran said that’s not possible.

Moran said those who purchased tickets for the tournament will be contacted about refunds. He also cited uncertainties about travel within and outside the United States as part of the decision.

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Thursday’s women’s basketball game between No. 17 Indiana and Rutgers has been postponded because of COVID-19 healthy and safety issues within the Scarlet Knights’ program.

The schools issued a statement saying they had mutually agreed to scrub the game after consulting with university medical officials and Big Ten representatives. They will work with the conference office to try to reschedule the game.

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Bill Russell is the latest NBA legend to reveal that he’s gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and Basketball Hall of Famer made the announcement in a video released Thursday by the league. “This is one shot I won’t block,” Russell says in the video, which shows him receiving the vaccine.

Russell turns 87 on Feb. 12.

Russell participated in the video to encourage others to receive the shot when they have the opportunity, just as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Gregg Popovich also did in recent weeks when their vaccinations were filmed on the league’s behalf.

“No Celtics were harmed,” Russell said.

Russell meets the criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surrounding vaccine eligibility. The CDC guidelines suggest that priority for receiving the vaccine should go to health care personnel, those living in long-term care facilities, front-line essential workers, those over the age of 65 and people “with underlying medical conditions” that increase their vulnerability to COVID-19.

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The NHL has a series of pandemic protocol adjustments in response to more players being added to the COVID-19 unavailable list.

The glass is being removed from behind team benches to allow for better air flow, no players or coaches are allowed at the game arena until 1:45 before puck drop, except those getting treatment for injuries, all meetings must be virtual and teams have been asked to space out locker rooms to allow for six feet of distance between players.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed those updates in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday morning.

The league is not yet considering adding a daily rapid test to the current PCR testing regimen, like the NBA did.

There are currently 40 NHL players from 12 teams on the COVID list, which could be from a positive test result, symptomatic isolation, high-risk close contact, an unconfirmed virus positive or quarantine for travel purposes.

Four teams are currently shut down because of varying degrees of outbreaks: Vegas, New Jersey, Buffalo and Minnesota. The Wild are the most recent team to have games postponed after five new players were added to the COVID list on Wednesday.

-- AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno reporting

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Iowa wrestling coach Tom Brands has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be away from the team until Feb. 13.

Brands, who has no symptoms, tested positive during his regularly scheduled rapid antigen test Wednesday. A PCR test confirmed the result.

Wrestlers, coaches, and staff members are tested daily as part of the Big Ten return-to- play protocols. The defending Big Ten champion Hawkeyes have been dominant this season and are favored to win their 24th NCAA championship but first since 2010.

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

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Hockey, College Sports, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
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