Joe's Morning Sports-Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Kevin Garnett wants to come back to Minnesota as a Timberwolves owner.  The longtime NBA superstar said yesterday he is part of a group that is hoping to buy the franchise from Glen Taylor, who has owned it since 1994.  Taylor said in a statement he was recently approached by a third-party group to discuss the future of the franchise.  He said he’s always wanted what’s best for the team’s fans and “will entertain opportunities” on the ownership structure of the Timberwolves and Lynx, Minnesota’s WNBA team.  Garnett spent his first twelve seasons in Minnesota, where he was voted NBA MVP in 2004.  The Wilf family that owns the Minnesota Vikings has emerged also as a serious candidate to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves according to ESPN.

The NBA has delivered on its promise to print "Black Lives Matter" on the game court for the league's restart in Orlando.  The league unveiled the new court, giving reporters in the "bubble" a tour.  Black Lives Matter is written on the floor in large, glossy black print.  There’s no bench. The courtside broadcasters will not be courtside. And the stat crew will be doing their work inside what loosely can be described as an oversized hockey penalty box. The league’s marketing motto for the restart of the season at Walt Disney World is “Whole New Game,” and in many respects, that’s very true. The arenas that will be used for the exhibitions, the seeding games that start July 30 and then the playoffs that are scheduled for mid-August through mid-October set up much differently than usual.

Dozens of Division I football teams are scrambling to find opponents after several conferences canceled their seasons or axed nonconference games in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 377 Division I games have been canceled or postponed so far.  According to Associated Press research, 114 Football Bowl Subdivision games are off.  That number is 317 for the Football Championship Subdivision. Included in those numbers are 54 matchups between FBS and FCS teams.  The Colonial Athletic Association, Ivy League, Patriot League, MEAC and SWAC have canceled or postponed their seasons.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 have canceled nonconference games.  The NCAA is allowing its members to play as independents this season.  A total of 315 Division II games are off.  How much, if any, college football is played is unknown.  Canceled games could be crushing for some athletic programs. A team can go on the road and play a Power Five conference team and earn $1 million to $2 million.

A former Nebraska volleyball player and eight other women have sued the university.  They allege the school did not properly respond or investigate complaints of sexual assault and harassment.  The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court.  The complaint outlines a pattern of unresponsiveness, sloppiness and indifference by university employees in charge of investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.  Seven of the women allege they were victims of rape or sexual assault.  The university declined to comment on the lawsuit but said it has a strong Title IX process.

The Omaha World Herald reports that the Nebraska football team has added another recruit in Malik Williams.  The cornerback announced his commitment yesterday as the 14th member of the 2021 class.  Williams is the third consecutive defensive back to join the class, all this month, following Lardarius Webb Jr. of Mississippi and Marques Buford of Texas.  The 6-0, 187-pound consensus three-star prospect carried more than a dozen scholarship offers from Power Five schools.  Williams said he chose the Huskers over finalists Texas, Florida and Louisville.  He has yet to visit Nebraska in person.  Williams pairs strong physical genes with the tenacity.  His older brother, LeAnthony, is a junior defensive back at Clemson.  Malik Williams join a deep Nebraska secondary group that nonetheless lost a pair of 2020 signees this offseason to the transfer portal in Henry Gray and Jaiden Francois.

College athletes in Nebraska may soon be able to sign endorsement deals with sneaker companies, car dealerships and other sponsors under a bill approved by lawmakers.  Lawmakers gave the measure final approval today with a 37-6 vote.  The measure would apply to student-athletes at the University of Nebraska and its smaller state colleges.  It would cover athletes in all sports, although Nebraska’s football, basketball and volleyball players are likely to have the most money-making opportunities.  Student athletes wouldn’t get salaries but couldn’t be punished for signing with an outside sponsor.

The Wayne State College volleyball team has received the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award announced by the association office in Lexington, Kentucky for the 2019-20 season.  The Wildcats continue the longest active streak in NCAA Division II for receiving the honor, 18 consecutive years, while the WSC beach volleyball team was one of 41 programs to receive the award in its first season of play.  Both fall and beach volleyball teams at Wayne State recorded impressive team cumulative grade point averages of 3.80.  Wayne State is also tied for second amongst all NCAA Division II schools for the most AVCA Team Academic Awards with 18 total.  Along with its 3.80 team grade point average, the Wildcat volleyball team had four seniors earn the NSIC/Myles Brand All-Academic With Distinction Award with eleven players named to the NSIC Fall All-Academic Team.  

Kearney Country Club is hosting the final day of the three-day Nebraska Women’s Match Play Championship today.  Snyder’s Hannah Hunke beat Lauren Thiele of Wahoo in the semifinals of the Championship Bracket 3 & 2 yesterday.  Hunke had topped Sydney Taake of Papillion in the quarterfinals 4 & 3 earlier in the day.  Hunke will meet Katie Ruge of Omaha in the Championship today.  In the Founders Bracket, Beemer’s Lacie Fox has advanced to the Championship today after topping Julia Karmazin of Omaha 5 & 4 in the semifinals.  Fox had defeated Elly Speece of La Vista in the quarterfinals earlier in the day 7 & 6.  Fox will take on Karsen Morrison of North Platte today.

Local Scores:  Nfk Seniors 5-2 Grand Island Home Federal 1-3 (Bsbl DH).

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In other news

The Summit League President's Council voted unanimously yesterday to postpone the regular season and championships for the fall sports of men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and volleyball to the spring of 2021. 

ESPN reports that Nebraska football coach Scott Frost said yesterday that the Cornhuskers are prepared to play this upcoming season -- even if it's outside the Big Ten.  "We're a proud member of the Big Ten," Frost said during a Zoom teleconference with reporters. "We want to play a Big Ten …

The Power Five conference commissioners met to discuss the growing concern over whether the coming college football season will be played.  And players took to social media to urge leaders to let them play.  Several sources have indicated to ESPN that Big Ten presidents, following a meeting …

Jason Day opened the PGA Championship with a bogey-free round of 5-under 65 at the TPC Harding Park.  He’s tied with Brendon Todd.  Right behind was Brooks Koepka, going after a third straight PGA Championship title.  Koepka, who is one of nine golfers that are one shot back at 4-under 66, h…