Sun Bowl 86-year streak ends, another Big Ten game off amid COVID-19


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Published 4:08 p.m. ET Nov. 30, 2020 | Updated 7:04 p.m. ET Nov. 30, 2020

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The Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, played every year since Jan. 1, 1935, has been canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

KFOX14/CBS4 in El Paso, Texas, site of the game that was to pit the Pac-12 against the ACC, said it confirmed the news with the Sun Bowl Association. The Stadium first reported the cancellation of the nation’s second-longest-running bowl game.

Earlier this year, when the Pac-12 announced a return to the field, executive director Bernie Olivas said the bowl still planned on pitting a Pac-12 and ACC team.

The bowl schedule for the 2020 season started at 43 games with the College Football Playoff championship game included. Seven games have officially announced cancellations – Redbox, Hawaii, Bahamas, Holiday, Quick Lane, Pinstripe and Sun. Two games were moved – the New Mexico Bowl will be played in Frisco, Texas, and the inaugural Fenway Bowl scheduled for Boston has moved to Montgomery, Alabama. The status of the Las Vegas Bowl is uncertain. If that game is not played, it would mean four games with Pac-12 tie-ins have been called off.

There will not be an appearance by Tony the Tiger this football season with the Sun Bowl canceled. (Photo: Mark Lambie, USA TODAY Network)

More: Where the College Football Playoff stands after Week 13

Minnesota-Northwestern canceled 

The Big Ten is facing more challenges with COVID-19 after a weekend when two football games were canceled due to health concerns.

Minnesota announced Monday its game scheduled for Saturday against No. 17 Northwestern has been canceled and will be considered a no contest. The Gophers had last week’s game against Wisconsin shut down. It will be the first time since 1906 the border rivals will not play.

Minnesota said team activities remained paused after being halted Tuesday. The team’s next scheduled game is Dec. 12 at Nebraska.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority,” Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus.”

Michigan-Maryland game in doubt

Michigan announced Monday its football program is pausing activities because of health concerns related to presumptive positive tests.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said the program has seen a rise in presumptive positive tests.

“That’s an increased number from zero,” Harbaugh said. “It was more than one. It was a few. So it was increased.”

Harbaugh declined to predict whether the Wolverines would play this Saturday against Maryland.

“This is day to day,” Harbaugh said. “When the results come

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Tom Penders’ traveling success story began at UConn, ends at College Basketball’s Hall of Fame

When Tom Penders got the news last January, he had to keep it to himself. Thanks to the pandemic, he had to keep the secret far longer than intended, for nearly a year, and from a whole lot of people.



Tom Penders wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Tom Penders played at UConn from 1964-67, back in the days when assist stats were not kept by the school.


© Courtesy University of Houston/Hartford Courant/TNS
Tom Penders played at UConn from 1964-67, back in the days when assist stats were not kept by the school.

But now the world can know: The former UConn guard who coached at seven schools is going into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I took a rather circuitous route,” says Penders, who at 75 still enjoys a good laugh, a bit of irony and as many basketball games as he can watch, record, fit into his day. “Normally, these honors are for guys like Jim [Calhoun], who can take a school to heights it had never been before and stay there.”

Penders will join Calhoun, who was among this Hall’s founding class in 2006, and he will be the first UConn grad to go in. The classes of 2020, including Penders, and 2021 were announced Sunday and will be inducted in Kansas City next November.

“I didn’t have one family,” Penders says. “I had seven families. Plus two high school teams. The first thing that goes through your mind, at least through mine, is the very start of your career at age 23, being named the coach at Bullard Havens in Bridgeport. One of my tri-captains, Charlie Bentley, became one of the greatest coaches in Connecticut high school basketball, at Harding High, and so I had to tell him.”

At one stop after another, entertaining, winning basketball arrived with Tom Penders. Though he had his battles and sometimes departed amid controversy, there would always be another school that wanted him. In Broadway terms, he was Professor Harold Hill, except he really could lead a band.

Bullard Havens Tech in 1968 is the time and place where Penders first pulled off his signature trick: the quick turnaround. With 16 of 20 games on the road, Bullard Havens was 14-6. The next season, at Bridgeport Central, Penders was 23-2. At his first college job, Tufts in 1971-72, he finished 12-8, and 54-18 in three seasons.

It took Penders three years to turn Columbia and Fordham, which he led to five NITs, into winning programs, but when he got to Rhode Island, taking over on the eve of the 1986-87 season, Penders went 20-10 in Year 1. After leading the Rams to the Sweet 16 in 1988, he moved on to Texas, taking his up-tempo style and love of the 3-pointer with him.

“I was making $50,000 at Rhode Island,” Penders says, “and then Texas put another zero on my contract.”

First year at Texas? 25-9. At George Washington in 1998? 20-9. His last coaching job at Houston? 18-14. In his first seasons, Penders won 56.8 percent of his games with players he inherited.

“A lot of coaches make the mistake of going in and

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Marc Gisin ends ski race career 2 years after serious crash

ENGELBERG, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss skier Marc Gisin announced the end of his racing career on Monday, saying he had not fully recovered from a serious crash two years ago.

In December 2018, Gisin was placed in a medical coma to be treated after hitting the snow hard at a jump on the Saslong course at Val Gardena, Italy.

“I put absolutely everything in my rehabilitation to come back from this injury once again and tried to give my body and especially my brain the time it needed to recover,” Gisin wrote on his Instagram account. “But my body won’t take it anymore.”

The 32-year-old Gisin is from a storied ski racing family. His sisters Dominique and Michelle won Olympic gold medals at, respectively, the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Gisin, who placed 21st in men’s downhill at Pyeongchang, got his best World Cup results at the toughest race — fifth places in 2016 and 2018 at Kitzbühel, Austria.

He also sustained a head injury at Kitzbühel in 2015 when crashing out in a super-G race.

Gisin said Monday his race awareness was still affected and “will not allow me to ski the way I want to” ahead of the first speed races of the new season.

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Hurricane season ends after record 30 named storms, 12 US landfalls

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A breakdown of the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity and expected damage for each category.

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Story Highlights

  • Of the 30 storms, 12 hit U.S. shores, also a record number. The previous record was 9.
  • October and November were extremely active with seven storms and a whopping 4 major hurricanes.
  • In the U.S., Hanna, Laura and Zeta all rapidly intensified in the 24 hours prior to landfall.

It’s officially over.

After six long months and 30 storms from Arthur to Iota, the record-shattering 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ends Monday. 

“I didn’t think I would live to see that, but it’s happened,” Penn State University meteorologist Michael Mann told USA TODAY, referring to the record number of named storms in a single season.

A typical season sees only 12 storms. 

All preseason forecasts said an active season was likely, but none came close to the actual number. “Our group here at Penn State predicted an unusually active season, as many as 24 named storms – the most of any of the preseason predictions,” Mann said. “But even THIS wasn’t aggressive enough a forecast.”

Of the 30 storms, 12 hit U.S. shores, also a record number. The previous record was nine, set way back in 1916. 

It was the fifth consecutive season with above-normal activity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. There have been 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26. 

“I think really what stood out to me about 2020 was the extremely active late season,” said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. “October and November were extremely active with seven storms and a whopping four major hurricanes (Delta, Epsilon, Eta and Iota).”

Before this year, Klotzbach said, no October-November had more than two major hurricane formations.

Although the official end of the hurricane season is Monday, storms can form in December. Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center monitored a low-pressure area Sunday in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean for possible subtropical development. If the area becomes a named storm, it would be called Kappa, the 31st named storm of the season.

December tropical storms and hurricanes are exceedingly rare. “Only one season on record has had more than one named storm form in December, and that was all the way back in 1887,” Klotzbach said. 

When will it end? When will this relentless Atlantic hurricane season finally end?

Rapid intensification marked this season

A major hurricane has wind speeds of at least 111 mph and reaches Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale of Hurricane Intensity. 

Eta and Iota smashed into Central America as Category 4 storms in November, leaving hundreds dead and widespread misery and destruction. Iota was briefly a Category 5 before weakening and hitting land as a Cat 4. 

“One of the most notable features of 2020 was all of the intensifying (and often rapidly intensifying) hurricanes we had up until the point of landfall,” Klotzbach told USA TODAY. “Most notably for the United States, Hanna, Laura and Zeta

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Eye injury ends defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s career with Islanders

Johnny Boychuk’s playing career with the Islanders is over, the team announced Wednesday, the result of an eye injury the 36-year-old defenseman suffered in March that Boychuk said caused some “irreparable’’ damage.

“My peripheral vision is pretty bad, actually,’’ Boychuk said in an emotional Zoom call with reporters after the Islanders made the announcement. “I think they said optic nerve damage, and some other stuff. But it’s been hard to process everything at the same time. I mean, I went and did all these tests and it’s, it’s just been hard, actually. Really hard.’’

The Islanders, in their press release, did not say Boychuk was retiring from playing hockey, and Boychuk himself danced around the question of whether he is, in fact, retiring.

“I mean, the injury’s causing me to stop playing, so I don’t know if it’s retiring, or [long term injured reserve],’’ he said. “I just know that it’s going to cause me to not play because it’s basically not safe for me if I can’t see things coming.’’

Boychuk is under contract for two more seasons, at a salary cap hit of $6 million per, and there are cap implications that come with him retiring. Should he retire, the Isles’ payroll may be subject to a “cap recapture’’ penalty, which would essentially mean his entire salary wouldn’t come off the books. If he instead goes on LTIR for the next two years, then his salary would count against the $81.5 million salary cap, but the team could exceed the cap by as much as his salary counts, if need be.

The Islanders will likely need that cap relief to sign restricted free agent Mathew Barzal.

Boychuk was injured in a game against the Montreal Canadiens on March 3 when the skate blade of Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen opened a cut his left eye that required 90 stitches to close. He missed the Islanders’ final three games before the NHL season was halted on March 12 because of the coronavirus.

The Islanders said it was the second injury for the same eye. (Boychuk recalled taking a slap shot in the temple early in his career.)

By the time the league restarted in August, Boychuk was able to play in the first preliminary round game against the Florida Panthers. But he suffered a concussion in that game when he took a hit to the head from Florida’s Mike Matheson. He sat out the next 19 games, at first because of the injury, but later because his replacement, Andy Greene, was playing so well that coach Barry Trotz kept him in the lineup. Boychuk

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Recent Eye Injury Ends Boychuk Career

After numerous and extensive medical exams, New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk‘s career has come to an end, due to an eye injury suffered during the 2019-20 regular season. The most recent injury was the second to the same eye.  

The 36-year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta has played the past six seasons with the Islanders, scoring 35 goals and 96 assists for 131 points in 404 games. Over the course of his 13-year career with the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins and Islanders, Boychuk played in 725 games, scoring 206 points (54 goals and 152 assists). He was acquired by the Islanders in 2014 from the Bruins and went on to have a career year in goals (nine), assists (26) and points (35) that same season (2014-15). 

Boychuk played in 104 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists). He was a member of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup Championship team, playing in all 25 games that playoff, scoring nine points (three goals and six assists).  

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Curtin University plans to ditch in-person lectures and exams, even after coronavirus pandemic ends

Western Australia’s Curtin University plans to abolish all face-to-face lectures and replace them with three 15-minute videos a week by the end of next year.

A draft proposal to redefine the way the university teaches its 50,000-plus students also says that no more exams will be held after mid-next year, except in special circumstances, and undergraduate units can have no more than three assessments.

It also dictates that all units must be delivered 30 per cent online and 70 per cent in person, but a certain number of weekly face-to-face contact hours are no longer required.

Recently circulated among staff, the proposal has sparked concerns that forcing all students to experience more of their student life online could dampen the buzz of campus life and reduce the quality of education.

One Curtin humanities academic, who did not want to be named for fear of losing his job, said he was most concerned about removing lectures from campus and being forced to deal with complex topics in a 15-minute video.

“The topics that we teach are not able to be rendered down to three dot points,” he said.

Like many workplaces, universities quickly moved their operations online at the outbreak of the pandemic in Australia and many students have returned to campuses during the year while still doing some online learning.

Timing during pandemic ‘coincidental’

Curtin, like other Australian universities, is dealing with huge logistical and financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, aiming to cut $45 million from its budget — mostly through redundancies.

A shift away from face-to-face lectures was also recently announced by fellow Perth institution Murdoch University, which also plans to include mini-lectures as part of its online options next year.

But a Curtin spokeswoman said that the proposal was developed in response to the changing nature of higher education and student expectations.

“The fact that it is happening during a year that experienced a pandemic, and so soon after the pivot to online delivery, is coincidental but timely,” she said.

‘We are increasingly constrained,’ academic says

The humanities academic said Curtin had long offered many students the opportunity to watch lectures online — if they were unable to attend on campus — and he did not understand the reasons for mandating online lectures.

“We have already had blended learning — we have been doing that for at least a decade,” he said.

“This is removing the students’ choice.”

He also said the proposal had come at a bad time for many staff, who were already exhausted by the job cuts.

“They fear for the future of their own careers and for their students,” he said.

“We are increasingly constrained in our ability to do our jobs effectively.”

Another academic, who feared losing his job for speaking out, said he thought the reduced number of student contact hours would disproportionately hurt casual staff, potentially putting their positions under threat.

“Financial imperatives are being presented as educational innovation,” he said.

The Curtin spokeswoman said the proposal

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Rashod Bateman ends his Gophers career by opting out again



a person wearing a helmet: Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/Mark Vancleave • Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS
Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Rashod Bateman opted out, opted back in and is now out again.

The star Gophers receiver announced Wednesday on Twitter that he plans to forgo the rest of the 2020 season and prepare for “the next stage” of his career. This came amid a COVID-19 outbreak for the 2-3 Gophers, who had to cancel Saturday’s rivalry game at Wisconsin.

Bateman was one of the first notable opt-outs back in early August, citing concerns about playing safely in the coronavirus pandemic after becoming sick with COVID-19 himself during the summer. The Big Ten subsequently canceled and then reinstated its season with new safety protocols, including daily testing, that convinced Bateman to return.

He received special dispensation from the NCAA to come back, despite signing with an agency and taking money for housing, training and transportation. The projected first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft hoped for one last hurrah with his teammates while possibly improving his draft stock.

Instead, the Gophers dropped their first two games of the year and have been inconsistent in all facets of the game. Bateman, a 1,000-yard Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2019, had 472 yards on 36 catches and two scores through five games.

The Gophers first announced a one-day halt to practice Monday night before formally shutting down the team the next day. The team ammounced 15 positive cases, nine players and six staff, with even more presumed positives just awaiting confirmation results.

Returning for the Northwestern game Dec. 5 is in focus, though the other Big Ten teams that have experienced outbreaks, Wisconsin and Maryland, both needed two weeks to control their spread. Beyond Northwestern, just Nebraska on Dec. 12 and a to-be-determined ninth game on Dec. 19, slated as an East-division matchup based on the standings. The potential for a bowl game is nebulous, considering the pandemic has affected the number of games and the eligibility requirements.

Last season, Bateman collected 1,219 yards on 60 passes with 11 touchdowns, part of a fierce receiver tandem with Tyler Johnson, now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But in the offseason, a bout with COVID-19 gave him similar symptoms to a bad flu, with the addition of losing his sense of taste and smell.

But in the six weeks Bateman was opted out of the team, living off-campus in a downtown Minneapolis condo, he realized just how much he missed his team.

“It was a very lonely time because I wasn’t with my teammates,” Bateman said back in October. “You’re going through everything else in the world. You’re not sure where to look, left or right. I mean, I’ve had a football season every fall for practically my whole life. … And not participating in football in the fall, especially with this team and my brothers here and this staff and this university, it really took a toll on

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Bateman ends his Gophers career by opting out again

Rashod Bateman opted out, opted back in and is now out again.

The star Gophers receiver announced Wednesday on Twitter that he plans to forgo the rest of the 2020 season. This came amid a COVID-19 outbreak for the 2-3 Gophers, who had to cancel Saturday’s rivalry game at Wisconsin.

“After further dialogue with coach [P.J.] Fleck and my family,” Bateman wrote, “we decided that after this most recent COVID-19 outbreak and the cancellation of the weekend’s game, that it made the most sense to begin to focus on the next stage of my life.”

Bateman was one of the first notable opt-outs back in early August, citing concerns about playing safely in the coronavirus pandemic after becoming sick with COVID-19 himself during the summer. The Big Ten subsequently canceled and then reinstated its season with new safety protocols, including daily testing, that convinced Bateman to return.

He received special dispensation from the NCAA to come back, despite signing with an agency and taking money for housing, training and transportation. The projected first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft hoped for one last hurrah with his teammates while possibly improving his draft stock.

Instead, the Gophers dropped their first two games of the season and have been inconsistent in all facets of the game. Bateman, a 1,000-yard Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2019, had 36 catches for 472 yards and two scores through five games.

Fleck said in a statement he fully supports Bateman, who had two years of eligibility left, pursuing his dream.

“It was a joy to watch Rashod develop into an All-American receiver on the field and a strong, positive advocate for social change off of it,” Fleck said. “He is one of the best to ever represent Minnesota.”

The Gophers first announced a one-day halt to practice Monday night before formally shutting down the team the next day. The team announced 15 positive cases, nine players and six staff, with even more presumed positives just awaiting confirmation results.

Returning for the Northwestern game Dec. 5 is in focus, though Wisconsin and Maryland, the other Big Ten teams that have experienced outbreaks, both needed two weeks to control their spread. Beyond Northwestern, just Nebraska on Dec. 12 and a to-be-determined ninth game on Dec. 19, slated as an East-division matchup based on the standings, remain for the Gophers. The potential for a bowl game is nebulous, considering the pandemic has affected the number of games and the eligibility requirements.

Last season, Bateman caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as part of a fierce receiver tandem with Tyler Johnson, now of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But in the offseason, a bout with COVID-19 gave him similar symptoms to a bad flu, with the addition of losing his sense of taste and smell. But in the six weeks Bateman was declared for the 2021 NFL draft, living off-campus in a downtown Minneapolis condo, he realized just how much he missed his team.

These past

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Johnny Boychuk’s career ends due to eye injury

The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday that defenseman Johnny Boychuk‘s career is over due to an eye injury that he suffered during the 2019-20 season.



a man skiing on the snow


© Getty


The Islanders said in a statement that he reached that decision following numerous and extensive medical exams.

Boychuk was injured just before the regular season went on pause in early March when he was hit by the skate blade of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen.

That injury required 90 stitches.

He briefly returned during the NHL’s Return To Play over the summer, appearing in three postseason games. He was injured in their first playoff game against Florida after taking a hit to the head and did not return until the Eastern Conference Final a month-and-a-half later.

Boychuk said on Wednesday that it was after he left the NHL’s bubble and started to workout that he realized something was really wrong with his eye.

He also said that it was not really a decision to stop playing, but “a life choice.”

The 36-year-old Boychuk still has two years remaining on his contract that carries a salary cap hit of $6 million per season. Because of that this is not officially going to go into the books as a “retirement,” with the Islanders either using the LTIR list or trading his contract to another team.

Boychuk spent the past six seasons as a member of the Islanders after being acquired in an early season 2014 trade with the Boston Bruins.

For his career Boychuk played 725 regular season games with the Colorado Avalanche, Bruins, and Islanders, scoring 54 goals and recording 206 total points.

He won a Stanley Cup as a member of the 2010-11 Bruins.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

 

Johnny Boychuk’s career ends due to eye injury originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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