Friday’s Sports in Brief

SOCCER

A federal judge threw out the unequal pay claim by players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team in a surprising loss for the defending World Cup champions but allowed their allegation of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial.

Players led by Alex Morgan sued in March 2019, claiming they have not been paid equally under their collective bargaining agreement to what the men’s national team receives under its labor deal. They asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a 32-page decision, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted in part a motion for partial summary judgment by the U.S. Soccer Federation. He threw out the Equal Pay Act allegations but left intact the Civil Rights Act claims.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer is allowing players to return to outdoor team training fields for individual workouts starting next Wednesday. MLS suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, closing all team facilities but asking players to remain in market with their teams.

The league-wide moratorium on group and team training remains in effect through May 15. MLS says individual workouts must follow certain detailed health and safety protocols. The workouts are voluntary and must also follow local public health and government policies

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners will discuss a length for the amateur draft next week and are likely to start the selections on the original date of June 10, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press.

Teams and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that allowed MLB to cut the draft from 40 rounds to as few as five this year and 20 next year, part of a plan to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic that delayed the start of the season and slashed revenue.

As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to leave the assigned slot values of draft signing bonuses at the same level in 2020 and 2021 as they were last year. That left the total of slot values for a 10-round draft this year at $265.5 million, including $29.6 million for rounds six through 10.

NEW YORK (AP) — Replay reviews could vanish in Major League Baseball in 2020 as part of a deal with umpires that contemplates a possible “monastery setup” in which off-the-field movement is restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement, struck late Thursday night, covers how umpires would be paid for a season shortened or wiped out by the virus outbreak, two people told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.

Umps are guaranteed 50% of their salaries for May, but would be paid nothing else if no games are played in 2020. Umpires generally make between $150,000 and $450,000.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Widespread testing for coronavirus will be crucial to having college sports in the fall — especially contact sports such as football and basketball, the NCAA’s chief medical officer said.

Dr. Brian Hainline expressed cautious optimism that college sports could be played during the fall semester as long as leaders take a methodical approach.

The NCAA also released guidelines from its COVID-19 Advisory Panel for getting teams up and running on campuses. The guidelines start with students back at school, which has become a familiar refrain among college sports leaders in recent weeks.

The NCAA’s recommendations incorporate a recent three-phase plan from the White House for restarting the economy that account for regional differences in the fight against COVID-19 and certain benchmarks being reached.

PRO BASKETBALL

The NBA is delaying the draft lottery and draft combine, events scheduled for Chicago later this month.

The league made the decision Friday, though it has been expected for some time. The lottery cannot occur until the regular season is completed or is declared over, because team records determine the odds that the 14 non-playoff teams will have of securing the right to pick No. 1 overall in the draft.

For now, the draft remains scheduled for June 25 — though that, too, will likely have to change in the coming weeks as the league continues reacting to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lottery was to have taken place May 19. The draft combine was to have run from May 21-24.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls announced Marc Eversley as their new general manager.

Eversley agreed to take the job earlier in the week. He succeeds the fired Gar Forman and will work under new top executive Arturas Karnisovas. Eversley spent four years in Philadelphia’s front office — the past two as the 76ers’ senior vice president of player personnel.

The Bulls were 11th in the Eastern Conference at 22-43 and on the way to their third straight losing record when the league stopped play.

A Canadian, Eversley becomes the Bulls’ first black general manager.

PRO FOOTBALL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars declined to pick up the fifth-year option in running back Leonard Fournette’s rookie contract.

The decision was no surprise because the team tried to trade Fournette over the last month. General manager Dave Caldwell had conversations with Tampa Bay and Miami, but neither made a worthwhile offer.

The deadline for teams to exercise the option is Monday. The Jaguars also signed veteran running back Chris Thompson to a one-year deal, reuniting him with former Washington coach Jay Gruden. Gruden is entering his first year as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator.

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