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Sports News

Release from Monday, May 11th
Gov. Ricketts: Sports

We have been receiving a lot of questions about youth sports.
We want to encourage people to take advantage of the outdoors with appropriately socially distanced exercise.

Through May 31st:
The current DHM prohibits organized team sports for youth and adults through May 31, 2020.  It will remain in effect through the end of the month.
Starting June 1st:
Schools are permitted to open weight rooms for use by all student-athletes as long as they follow the same guidelines as fitness centers/clubs, gymnasiums, health clubs, and health spas.
Organized team practices for baseball and softball may begin unless circumstances dictate a change in date.

Starting June 18th:
Baseball and softball games may begin unless circumstances dictate a change in date.
Detailed guidelines for the play of organized baseball and softball are available below by downloading or viewing a pdf of the file. 
 

Commissioner Blomstedt: Sports

We’re exploring what’s safe and what works best for team sports.
As we restart baseball and softball, we expect to learn best practices for mitigating the spread of the virus that we can apply to other sports.
For instance, in developing guidelines for baseball and softball, we’ve identified safety protocols—such as not sharing drinks or snacks and using your own equipment—that are transferable to other activities.
We’ll also figure out protocols for the safe use of school facilities.
We’ll share these insights and best practices on www.launchne.com.




Gov. Ricketts On Sports Guidelines June 1st

The third of four McCook Community College sophomore volleyball players has signed a letter of intent to continue playing at the next level. Bailey Honn, a 5-8 right-side hitter and McCook High School graduate, has signed on to play at Ottawa University in Kansas.

“I chose Ottawa because of the great program they have to offer,” she said. “Beach volleyball at Ottawa really caught my attention along with the variety of degrees available. The team, coaches, and teachers I met with seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Honn plans to pursue a degree in biology.

“I am excited for new competition, traveling to new places, and the opportunity to play with and against new and experienced players,” she said. One of her new teammates with the Braves is a former Lady Indian, Yessah Rocha, a 5-5 libero from Topeka, who will be a senior on the team.

Honn played in 92 sets this past season and had 365 total attacks with was credited with 114 kills, 42 digs and 45 block assists.

“Bailey is a natural athlete, so I know she is just going to continue to improve and do great things,” said MCC Volleyball Coach Hayley Kobza.

Honn said her time playing at MCC was surreal. “It was like being a part one big supportive family. I have many close memories and friends from MCC that have prepared me for the next step,” she said. Among her fondest team memories was dancing in the locker room before practices and games.

“I was lucky enough to coach Bailey while she was in high school and it has been a fun experience to watch her grow so much in the two years here at MCC,” said Coach Kobza. “She was my first McCook player and she represented the Bison well.”

Honn expressed gratitude to her family for supporting her and also to her teammates for “an unforgettable year together and becoming my second family.” She also thanks Coach Kobza and Coach Deines for giving her an opportunity to continue playing volleyball after high school and for being “two of the best coaches, mentors, and role models” and to the incredible teachers and friends she’s met at MCC.

“These will stick with me for life.”




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UNDATED (AP) — The president of the University of Virginia says he hopes college football can be played this fall, but he doesn’t expect it to seem like “normal football seasons.” James Ryan said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that that athletic director Carla Williams and football coach Bronco Mendenhall are committed to a safe return to play. But Ryan says nothing will proceed until medical officials say it’s safe to resume workouts. He says students need to be back on campus before football can begin.

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish soccer league isn’t changing its plan to resume competing after five players from clubs in the first and second divisions tested positive for COVID-19. Players from most clubs began individual training sessions on Friday after nearly two months of confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league says it has told everyone to keep following health safety measures suggested by authorities, so the numbers of infected players "remain very low.” The five players who tested positive will remain sidelined until they fully recover. They will be allowed to resume practicing after testing negative in two consecutive tests.

UNDATED (AP) — News that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 underscores the challenges the English Premier League faces as it works toward resuming its soccer season. The Brighton player tested positive just as clubs prepare for fresh talks on how they can create safe conditions to play again. Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said the club's COVID-19 case was “a concern," with players still only training individually. The 20 Premier League clubs are due to hold a conference call tomorrow on the next steps forward. The British government has said it wants to see the return of the Premier League to “lift the spirits of the nation."

UNDATED (AP) — America’s Cup teams are returning to the water in varying degrees nearly two months after the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of what would have been an impressive global road show for sailing. Defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand has returned to training on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor with its half-size test boat after a mandatory lockdown was lifted. The Kiwis don’t have access to their 75-foot race boat because it’s still being shipped back from Italy after a preliminary regatta scheduled for April was canceled. By Monday or Tuesday, the New York Yacht Club’s yacht Defiant will be headed from Pensacola, Florida, to Auckland on a 500-foot ship.

UNDATED (AP) — Former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, who is now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, says the league has three options for resuming the season that has been on hold since Feb. 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yao says the league might play out the full schedule; play a shortened season with some games dropped; or end the regular season and go straight to the playoffs based on teams’ current rankings. Yao told state broadcaster CCTV that he hopes as much as the season can be played as possible, but that public health and fairness are the key considerations.




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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The NCAA struck back at the University of Kansas and its men’s basketball program Thursday, calling five Level I violations that are alleged to have occurred “egregious” and arguing that they undermine and threaten” college athletics. It was the latest in a series of back-and-forth filings that set up a likely infraction hearings. The case came out of an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption. It centers on whether two Adidas representatives were acting as boosters for the Jayhawks when they paid prospective recruits to lure them to the program.

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL has released its fall schedule. One highlight of the opening weekend will have Tom Brady's regular-season debut with Tampa Bay against Drew Brees at New Orleans on Sept. 13 — the first matchup of age 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL history. The opening of SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area that Sunday night has the Rams hosting the Cowboys.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo says he feels terrible that a hacker used his Twitter account to say “extremely inappropriate and disgusting” things. Los Angeles Lakers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo says his brother’s social media accounts were hacked Thursday. More than a dozen tweets popped up in Antetokounmpo's feed in the span of about five minutes. The tweets included racial slurs, profane attacks on other players and a claim that Antetokounmpo had the coronavirus.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh favors making it easier for college football players to head into the NFL earlier. In an open letter to the football community, Harbaugh pushed for a change that would allow players to enter the NFL draft after their freshman or sophomore seasons. The league and the players union have shown no inclination of revising the rule.

ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Storen, a former ABA commissioner and multisport marketing whiz and the father of ESPN broadcaster Hannah Storm, has died. He was 84. Storm says her father died Thursday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta of complications from cancer. Storen rose to executive spots in basketball, football, baseball and tennis during a four-decade career in sports. Storen was general manager of the Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels and president of the Atlanta Hawks. He owned the ABA’s Memphis Sounds, worked for the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA and the Houston Astros.

HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) — Two of the biggest names in golf and in the NFL will square off for a televised golf match to raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief. The May 24 event, to be simulcast on TNT and TBS, will feature Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning taking on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The match will be held at Florida’s Medalist Golf Club.




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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre (fahrv) is repaying $1.1 million in welfare money that he received for multiple speeches where he did not show up. Auditor Shad White says his office received $500,000 from Favre on Wednesday, plus a commitment that Favre will repay the other $600,000 in installments over the next few months. Favre's effort to repay the money came two days after White released an audit of spending by the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The audit showed Favre had been paid by Mississippi Community Education Center, a nonprofit group whose former leader has been indicted in a welfare embezzlement scheme.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have continued to reshape their secondary by working out a one-year contract with cornerback Johnathan Joseph. The two-time Pro Bowl selection just completed a nine-year run with the Houston Texans after playing his first five NFL seasons with Cincinnati. Joseph has 750 tackles and 31 interceptions over 14 seasons since being taken in the first round of the 2006 draft.

UNDATED (AP) — All but one of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference have indicated they plan to reopen their campuses for the fall semester, a step widely believed to be needed to resume football and other sports. South Carolina and Tennessee on Wednesday became the latest schools in the nation's top football conference to announce their plans, joining Alabama, LSU and others. Vanderbilt hasn’t announced its plans for the fall.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Former Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr has announced on social media that he is transferring to Kentucky. Sarr was the Demon Deacons’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder last season, averaging 13.7 points and nine boards. He gives the Wildcats a veteran 7-footer after the team's entire starting lineup declared for the NBA draft.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An NCAA panel has rejected an appeal by former UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie, who sought to overturn findings that he violated ethical conduct rules while leading the Huskies. The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee ruled Ollie failed to prove that information he presented alleging witnesses against him lied outweighed the information that supported the violation findings. The NCAA Committee on Infractions placed the UConn program on two years of probation 10 months ago and sanctioned Ollie individually for numerous violations of NCAA rules during his tenure.




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NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will reveal its 2020 regular-season schedule on Thursday night. While it is discussing contingencies for changes to the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, it currently is planning for a normal season. But just in case, Commissioner Roger Goodell has also sent a memo to teams for a ticket refund plan for canceled games or those held without fans.

UNDATED (AP) — More than $6 million has been raised by the governing bodies of tennis for a relief fund aimed at helping 800 players deal with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The WTA and ATP tours, the International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slam tournaments formed the “Player Relief Programme.” The seven groups say the money will be divided evenly among women and men and will go to singles and doubles players. They also say the WTA and ATP will oversee the distribution of the money, based on eligibility requirements that will factor in rankings and past prize money.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) —Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand remains optimistic that injured guard Ben Simmons can return to play if the NBA season resumes. Simmons had been sidelined with nerve issues in his lower back when the NBA season shut down on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Simmons is allowed to rehabilitate at the 76ers’ practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, with other select players undergoing rehab.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ESPYS are shifting focus from honoring athletic accomplishments to celebrating acts of heroism and humanitarian aid during the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN says its annual awards show will air June 21, about a month earlier than its usual July date. Comedian Tracy Morgan hosted last year’s show in its longtime home of Los Angeles. Awards named for Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King are usually given out at a separate show the night before but will be added to The ESPYs telecast this year.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Speedway High School will hold this year’s graduation ceremony at the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Speedway officials agreed to host the event. The historic 2.5-mile oval just a short stroll from the high school has an estimated 235,000 permanent seats — and more than enough space to safely social distance. Details are still being worked out for the May 30 event.




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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers are set to offer refunds or credits for unplayed regular-season games at their shared arena because of the coronavirus pandemic. While neither the NHL or NBA has officially canceled the remainder of the season, or decided when and where the season may resume, both organizations on Tuesday decided to address the ticket status for games scheduled for the Wells Fargo Center.

MADRID (AP) — The tennis club where Novak Djokovic broke confinement rules in Spain says it mistakenly authorized the player to practice. The top-ranked Djokovic published a video of himself training in Marbella on Monday, in apparent violation of Spain’s current rules amid the coronavirus pandemic. Spain has eased some of the lockdown measures that have been in place since mid-March, allowing professional athletes to start training again individually. But most training centers and sports facilities must remain closed until next week.

MADRID (AP) — Rafael Nadal says if given the option he would scrap this season entirely so tennis could resume normally in 2021. The second-ranked Spaniard is 33 years old and has won 19 Grand Slam titles. He says he hopes to resume playing this year but doubts it could happen because of the coronavirus pandemic. He says he "would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021.” Nadal recently said he was concerned with the risk of new injuries when players return to action after a long time without proper training. The Spaniard has had to deal with a series of injuries throughout his career.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Veteran pass rusher Aaron Lynch has signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He should give the Jaguars more depth in case disgruntled defender Yannick Ngakoue decides to skip part of the season. Lynch played 16 games for Chicago last year and had six tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. He also spent four years in San Francisco. The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round in 2014. The Jaguars released running back Jeremy McNichols and defensive end Chuck Harris to make room for Lynch and running back Chris Thompson on the roster. Thompson signed last week.

NEW YORK (AP) — Running back Frank Gore has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the New York Jets. Agent Drew Rosenhaus announced the deal Tuesday. Gore turns 37 next week and joins a Jets backfield that also includes Le’Veon Bell and fourth-round draft pick La’Mical Perine. Gore is third on the NFL’s career rushing list with 15,269 yards. The move reunites Gore with coach Adam Gase, for whom he played in Miami in 2018. The two were also together in San Francisco in 2008 when Gase was an offensive assistant. ESPN first reported the agreement between the Jets and Gore.




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Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team coach Garrett Nokes has been named Coach of the Year for the Great Plains Region.

The coaches and captains from every team in the region vote for a Coach of the Year at the end of every season. It’s the first time Nokes has received the recognition.

“It’s a big honor,” Nokes said. “One of the things I love about my job is that coaching in this region is pretty unique. Our environment is the most positive environment I’ve ever been around in college rodeo. All of the coaches want their kids to win, but there’s not a coach in the region that won’t help a kid from another school if asked.”

He said that type of cooperation has led to a phenomenal atmosphere where student-athletes can develop their skills and advance to the next level.

“We just want the competition to be the toughest it can be, and that’s something that’s felt by every coach in the region,” Nokes said.

It’s important to him that his own team develops a strong work ethic and that members take away as much from outside the arena as inside.

“I want them to learn that if they want it, they have to work for it. Then, the sky’s the limit. That’s true for life in general,” Nokes said. “I will help them get to wherever they want to go, but I also want them to get an education to fall back on. In this business, it’s never ‘if a rodeo career is over’ – it’s when.”

His convictions stem from a lifetime spent in the rodeo industry – experiencing its ups and downs – in addition to his own experience as a college rodeo athlete at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla. He was on the university’s first two national championship teams in 1997 and ’98.

“College rodeo prepared me for both professional rodeo and life after because I was surrounded by good mentors,” Nokes said. “My coach during my first two years of college [Dr. R. Lynn ‘Doc’ Gardner] had never been in a rodeo arena but ended up being one of the most influential guys in my life. I’m thankful for him every day.”

Gardner died when Nokes was a junior – about the time Nokes’ professional career was taking off.

“That next year, I was contemplating leaving school without a degree,” Nokes said. “What prompted me to stick around and finish was a friend and our team secretary [Lynette Frueh Harbin]. She told me that if I left without a degree, Doc would roll over in his grave. That really hit home, and I decided to stay. I just hope that someday I can have that kind of impact on someone else.”

He already has if the Coach of the Year award is any indication. One of the themes that remains consistent year-to-year among MPCC Rodeo Team members is that they appreciate Nokes for caring about them. They also respect him for not just talking the talk, but also living it.

A member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association since 1996, Nokes currently has $740,032 in PRCA career earnings. That includes winnings from the 2005 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo where he competed in steer wrestling and placed fourth in the world standings.

Later on, in 2017, Nokes won the Ariat World Series of Team Roping in Las Vegas, beating out more than 500 other teams for a spot in the final round.

Nokes has also been highly involved in “the greatest sport on dirt” at the local level. He won the Nebraska State Rodeo Association’s “Rookie of the Year” title in 1996 and was the all-around champion in 2011 and 2014. He was the organization’s tie-down champion in 2011, ’13 and ’14.

A state to the south, Nokes was named the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association’s all-around champion in 1996, 2010, ’12 and ’14, steer wrestling champion in ’96 and tie-down roping champion in 2011, ’13 and ’14.

Additionally, Nokes is a three-time Prairie Circuit steer wrestling and all-around champion and was the tie-down roping champion in 2007.

He has won numerous all-around titles at major rodeos such as the National Western Stock Show in Denver in 20




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UNDATED (AP) — The NHL could have trouble getting non-Canadian resident players into Canada should the league decide to resume the 2019-20 season soon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday that players would at a minimum need to follow quarantine protocols if they were to arrive in Canada while the border remains closed due to the pandemic. Trudeau says anyone who arrives from another country will have to follow all the rules of quarantine in an extremely strict manner. However, he adds that an agreement between Canada and the NHL hasn’t been brokered.

UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have picked up additional quarterback depth by working out a contract with undrafted free agent Shea Patterson. The former Michigan signal-caller started all 26 games for the Wolverines over the past two seasons after transferring from Mississippi. Patterson threw for 3,061 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions last year and finished with 45 scoring passes with the Wolverines.

UNDATED (AP) — Quarterback Andy Dalton is going back home to Texas to be Dak Prescott's backup for the Dallas Cowboys. Dalton and the Cowboys have agreed on a one-year contract. The deal guarantees the former Cincinnati starter $3 million and could be worth up to $7 million. Dalton was born and raised in the Houston area and led TCU to its only undefeated season in the past 81 years in 2010. Cincinnati drafted him in the second round the next spring. The Bengals released Dalton after drafting LSU's Joe Burrow first overall. 

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Bears have declined their fifth-year option on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for the 2021 season, according to a person familiar with the situation. Trubisky struggled in his third season since the Bears drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick. His 2019 statistics sagged across the board from the previous season as he finished with 3,138 yards passing, a 63.2% completion rate, 17 touchdowns and an 83 quarterback rating. The Bears acquired 2018 Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles from Jacksonville in March and plan to hold an open competition for the starting job.

UNDATED (AP) — Football players and other college athletes are facing challenges when it comes to following nutrition plans while they are scattered around the country without access to training facilities. Many are home with family members. Others are largely on their own in off-campus residences. Schools with nutritionists or dietitians are trying to help through care packages, grocery tips and online cooking demonstrations. Nevada offensive lineman Nate Brown says athletes who “really take care of their nutrition” will be in better shape whenever they return to campuses.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former Oakland Athletics pitcher and special assistant Matt Keough (KEE’-oh) has died at age 64. Keough was an American League All-Star as a rookie in 1978 and was selected AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1980. He was 58-84 with a 4.17 ERA with Oakland, the New York Yankees, St. Louis, Chicago Cubs and Houston, then went 45-44 with a 3/73 ERA in Japan with Hanshin. Keough’s father Marty and uncle Joe were major league outfielders.

UNDATED (AP) — A men’s pole vault competition held in three separate backyards has resulted in a tie for the gold medal. Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Renaud Lavillenie of France each cleared a height of 16 feet 36 times over a span of 30 minutes. Both had one miss. Sam Kendricks of the United States wound up third by clearing the bar 26 times. Duplantis competed from his base in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Lavillenie from his farm in France. Kendricks was at his farm in Oxford, Mississippi. Today’s competition was broadcast by World Athletics on its social media channels.




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CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Bengals have released quarterback Andy Dalton, clearing the way for reigning Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow to lead a team that remade itself in the draft. Dalton set several Bengals passing records in his nine seasons and led the team to a club-record five straight playoff berths without winning a postseason game. Coach Zac Taylor benched Dalton for three games last season, an indication his time in Cincinnati was finished. Burrow was taken first overall in the draft last week.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest has hired East Tennessee State’s Steve Forbes as its men’s basketball coach, less than a week after the school fired Danny Manning. Forbes is coming off a five-year run at ETSU that ended with a 30-win season and the Southern Conference Tournament championship. He went 130-43 with the Buccaneers, winning at least 24 games each year while also capturing the league tournament in 2017 to reach the NCAA Tournament.

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL is planning to play a full season, although the league is considering several contingencies because of the coronavirus pandemic that could lead to everything from a delayed start to a late-winter Super Bowl. Empty stadiums, neutral sites and no bye weeks are among several alternatives being discussed. The schedule is slated for release by the end of next week, with the season set to open Thursday, Sept. 10 and conclude with Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7 in Tampa.

UNDATED (AP) — NFL Players Association President and Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter is calling for a re-examination of a portion of the labor agreement with the league affecting disability coverage for former players. Tretter wants the NFLPA's executive board and the leadership of former players to discuss some offsets in the collective bargaining agreement narrowly approved by the players in March. The language the overall union membership voted on is not the same as the actual product, affecting about 400 retired players who face a cut in the disability coverage they had under the previous labor agreement.

UNDATED (AP) — NBA team presidents met Thursday via conference call and emerged with the belief that there are still ways to resume the season. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also expressed optimism that the league will find a way out of the coronavirus-caused shutdown, telling CNN that he’s cautiously optimistic that the season could resume, albeit in empty buildings. San Antonio Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said the teams and league officials are discussing countless options, none of which have been finalized and none of which have been detailed specifically by the NBA.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — This year's Little League World Series and the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Little League President Stephen Keener made the announcement Thursday, saying it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions on large gatherings and travel. The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 and had never been canceled before.




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