MLB

NEW YORK — All the players set to be free agents after the 2020 season would still get that chance if there is no baseball this year, part of a broad deal being negotiated by the commissioner’s office and the players’ association.

If there’s no season because of the new coronavirus, the agreement would credit major leaguers with the same service time this year that they earned in 2019, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

Service time affects a player’s status for free agency, salary arbitration and the pension plan. The likely service time agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

Major League Baseball and the union would agree to try to play as many regular season games as possible, the person said. They also would agree to explore one-time changes to the postseason, which would create the possibility of expanded playoffs this year.

They would consider multiple schedule options that would take into account player health and safety, economics and ballpark availability. Possible changes might include increased doubleheaders, extending the regular season into October and even November and using neutral sites with warm weather and roofs if needed for the postseason.

NFL

NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a memo to teams, Goodell said restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.

The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.

NHL

NEW YORK — The National Hockey League has postponed its scouting combine, awards ceremony and draft that were scheduled for June. It did not provide new dates for the events.

With the NHL season on pause since March 12, the postponement of these events did not come as a surprise. The league is still working on scenarios of what hockey would look like if it is able to resume this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State football player was found dead in his apartment by an officer who responded to a call for help involving “breathing problems,’’ Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said Wednesday.

Jenkins said there were no signs of foul play and that the Whitman County coroner will determine the cause of death for 22-year-old Bryce Beekman, the senior defensive back who was found Tuesday afternoon.

Coroner Annie Pillers said in an email that the case remains an ongoing investigation and that it may take up to three months to determine the cause of death.

Beekman started all 13 games last season for Washington State after transferring from Arizona Western College. He finished fifth on the team with 60 tackles and one interception. He was expected to be part of an experienced Washington State secondary going into this season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Dayton’s Obi Toppin is headed to the NBA after leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record and No. 3 ranking as a redshirt sophomore.

Toppin tweeted his decision Wednesday, a day after he was honored as The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball player of the year. The Flyers’ Anthony Grant was voted coach of the year.

Toppin, who was a late bloomer in high school and didn’t get much recruiting notice, led the way in one of Dayton’s greatest seasons. He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds and punctuated each game with a variety of dunks.

The 6-foot-9 forward was a unanimous choice for the AP All-America first team. He beat Iowa’s Luke Garza for player of the year honors.

Toppin shot 63% from the field, with his signature dunk moves gaining national attention. He also shot 39% from beyond the arc, showing a complete game that will likely make him a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Shane Burcar will be Northern Arizona’s full-time basketball coach.

The school announced Wednesday that Burcar will have the interim tag removed after leading the Lumberjacks to 16 wins last season.

Burcar was elevated to interim coach last June after Jack Murphy left to become associate head coach under Sean Miller at Arizona, his alma mater. Burcar spent one season on Murphy’s staff after a 12-year tenure as the head coach at Mesa High School.

Northern Arizona’s win total in 2019-20 was more than the two previous seasons combined and the Lumberjacks had their first five-game winning streak in a decade early in the season.

MANHATTAN, Kansas — Kansas State guard Cariter Diarra is leaving the program with the intention of turning professional, though he is leaving open the option of transferring to another school for his senior season.

Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said in a statement Thursday that his leading primary ball-handler and second-leading scorer will graduate this spring. That would allow Diarra to play elsewhere next season without having to redshirt.

Diarra averaged 7.1 points as a freshman, when the Wildcats advanced all the way to the Elite Eight, and 6.8 points two years ago, when he helped them tie Texas Tech for the regular-season Big 12 championship. Diarra averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 assists last season, when the Wildcats slumped to an 11-21 record.

LOS ANGELES — Southern California forward Onyeka Okongwu has declared for the NBA draft after one season.

He averaged 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks for the Trojans. Okongwu broke the school record for blocks by a freshman and was named to the Pac-12’s All-Conference first team and All-Freshman team.

Okongwu signed with an agent this week and announced his plans Wednesday on social media. The 6-foot-9 forward from Chino, California, is projected to be a lottery pick in the draft.

TRACK AND FIELD

PARIS — Organizers of the European Championships in track and field still hope to stage the event in Paris in August despite France being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic.

European Athletics says it asked officials in Paris for a feasibility study for the Aug. 25-30 championships.

French officials reported their work has been “severely compromised by France’s national shutdown of non-essential activities” during the health crisis.

However, European Athletics says “many athletes are keen” to see the championships go ahead as planned. It shapes up as the main medal target for European track and field athletes in 2020 after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until next year.

The European track body’s ruling council next meets May 7-8 by video conference.

SWIMMING AND DIVING

ATLANTA — USA Diving will keep its Olympic trials in Indianapolis when the event is rescheduled.

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak, USA Diving formally called off the trials scheduled for June 14-21 at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus near downtown Indianapolis.

The governing body said it will work with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Indiana Sports Corp to reschedule the event, though that decision can’t be reached until the International Olympic Committee comes up with new dates for the Tokyo Games.

All tickets that had been purchased for the U.S. diving trials will automatically be shifted to the new dates once a decision is reached. Any hotel reservations that were booked through USA Diving’s site will be canceled.

HORSE RACING

MIAMI — The Florida Derby is set to have a full field and empty stands.

A field of 12 has been entered for Saturday’s Florida Derby, typically one of the biggest Kentucky Derby prep races and serves as the crown jewel of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. That won’t be the case this year, of course, with the coronavirus pandemic keeping virtually everyone -- bettors, fans and even owners -- away from the track for safety and health reasons.

Tiz the Law, a winner of three of his four career starts including the Holy Bull at Gulfstream last month, was installed as the 6-5 favorite at Wednesday’s race draw. Fountain of Youth winner Ete Indien, who ran second to Tiz the Law in the Holy Bull, was installed as the 4-1 second choice followed by Independence Hall (9-2).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs has suspended the final three racing dates at Turfway Park following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s “Healthy at Home” executive order out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florence, Kentucky, track’s winter meet was scheduled to end Saturday. Turfway’s backside area will remain open because it falls under the “life-sustaining business” category by providing “food, shelter and other necessities of life for animals.”

NEW YORK — Aqueduct has extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York.

As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial has been postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4.

Last Thursday, the New York Racing Association suspended racing at Aqueduct after confirmation that a backstretch worker who lived and worked at Belmont Park tested positive for COVID-19. The Belmont backstretch is home to 585 workers who tend to the daily care of more than 1,300 horses stabled on the property.

OBITUARY

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Former Buffalo Bills star linebacker Mike Stratton, who was a key member of the franchise’s American Football League championship teams in the mid-1960s, has died. He was 78.

The Bills announced Stratton died Wednesday because of heart complications stemming from a recent fall. Stratton was living in his native Tennessee, where he spent his college years playing for the Volunteers.

Stratton was a hard-hitting player who is best known for what became known as “the hit heard around the world.” It happened in the 1964 AFL championship game against San Diego and was played in Buffalo.

Stratton was part of a Bills defense that holds the pro football record of not allowing a touchdown rushing in 17 consecutive games, spanning the 1964-65 seaons.

Selected by Buffalo in the 1962 draft, Stratton spent his first 11 seasons with the Bills. He then ended his career following 1973 season with San Diego. Stratton was a three-time All-AFL player and earned second-team AFL All-1960s team honors.

NORWALK, Conn. — Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83.

Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk’s city clerk in Connecticut, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines.

At various times, she held the American record in the shot put in the women’s 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups. She also was once the nation’s top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Former Texas A&M basketball player David Edwards, whose single-season school record for assists has stood for more than 25 years, has died in his home state of New York. He was 48.

The school said in a news release that Edwards died Monday. Former teammate Charles Henderson posted on social media that Edwards died of complications from the new coronavirus. The Associated Press couldn’t independently confirm Henderson’s account.

Edwards, who was from New York City, played three seasons for the Aggies from 1991-94 after transferring from Georgetown. He is second to Alex Caruso on Texas A&M’s career list in assists (602) and steals (228). Edwards averaged 13.5 points per game.

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