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COLLEGES

<@Bold>Kansas fires athletics director Jeff Long<@$p>

The University of Kansas fired athletics director Jeff Long on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the matter told USA TODAY Sports.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the school had not made an official announcement.

The move comes less than 48 hours after the school parted ways with football coach Les Miles in the wake of damaging investigative reports about his personal conduct while he was at Louisiana State University.

Long had hired Miles shortly after arriving at Kansas in 2018, leaning on a long personal relationship they had going back to the 1980s when they both worked at Michigan.

But after LSU publicly released the results of a 2013 investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual advances toward female employees and student workers in the football office, the amount of due diligence Long had done on Miles was called into question.

Long defended his hiring process in a news conference Tuesday, saying nothing turned up in the “multiple” background checks done on Miles or his conversations with people at LSU. He said he had also asked Miles if there was anything that could cause concern and that Miles assured him there was not.

<@Bold>ETC.:<@$p> Oklahoma State's softball game vs. North Texas on Wednesday was postponed until 6 p.m. March 24 in Stillwater ... The OSU baseball team improved to 10-0-1 with its 5-0 win Tuesday night at Oral Roberts. Justin Campbell was dominant on the mound, striking out 14 in seven innings. ... True freshman Jace Bohrofen had six RBIs and three hits Tuesday night as Oklahoma whipped Texas-Arlington 15-5 in Norman. The Sooners are 6-6 on the season.

RODEO

<@Bold>Timed Event Championship set for Lazy E Arena<@$p>

Timed Event Championship starts Thursday at Lazy E Arena

The Ironman of ProRodeo, the Timed Event Championship, begins Thursday night at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie.

Twenty rodeo cowboys, including defending champion Taylor Santos, will compete over five rounds in the five timed events of rodeo: Heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer roping and steer wrestling.

This year's three-day Timed Event Championship begins Thursday because on Sunday the Lazy E Arena is hosting the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping, which features more than 100 roping teams competing for $700,000 in prizes.

The Timed Event Championship begins with its first round at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. There are two rounds both on Friday and Saturday, beginning at noon and 7:30 p.m.

The Bob Feist Invitational begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday. For ticket information, call the Lazy E Arena at 405-282-3004.

MLB

<@Bold>Texas Rangers to allow 100% capacity<@$p>

For most of the past year, as the nation shuttered and struggled to fight the coronavirus, the Texas Rangers, following the lead of Gov. Greg Abbott, adopted more of a devil-may-care attitude toward the pandemic.

As millions stayed home, the Rangers urged their workers to report for duty at Globe Life Field, to the point an employee told ESPN employees were "terrified for their safety."

As Major League Baseball's 30 franchises played games without fans while adhering to local guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, Texas and its Rangers flung its doors open to MLB, offering to host three rounds of postseason games as well as 25% occupancy for NLCS and World Series games.

The Rangers on Wednesday announced they will impose no restrictions on attendance at Globe Life Field, inviting Texans to fill up their second-year ballpark 40,000 strong for their home opener April 5 against Toronto.

The Rangers' announcement comes eight days after Abbott lifted a statewide mask mandate and allowed businesses to operate at full capacity, rescinding "most of the executive orders" he'd issued since the virus began its spread in March 2020.

The Rangers will require masks to be worn by fans, except when actively eating and drinking.

<@Bold>REDS:<@$p> Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and was placed on the injured list.

Votto missed two games, a doubleheader in Detroit, when he was on the injured list without an injury designation last season after he reported COVID-19 symptoms.

Players who test positive will have to quarantine for at least 10 days and won't be allowed to access team facilities during that time, according to the league's health and safety protocols. Votto will undergo a cardiac evaluation before returning.

WNBA

<@Bold>Moore to sit out 2021 season<@$p>

WNBA star Maya Moore announced that she will continue to be away from the league and will sit out the 2021 season.

Moore, who hasn't played in the league since the 2018 campaign, has devoted the years since toward fighting for criminal justice reform and was the catalyst to overturn the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Irons. He had served 23 years of a 50-year sentence after he was convicted on burglary and assault charges from an incident that took place in 1998.

Shortly after walking free from the Jefferson City (Missouri) Correctional Center last July, Irons and Moore married in September 2020.

PRO FOOTBALL

<@Bold>CFL, XFL explore partnership<@$p>

The Canadian Football League and the XFL are exploring a potential partnership as they seek to return to play in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leagues announced Wednesday that they "have agreed to work together to identify opportunities for the leagues to collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football," though they did not offer specifics about what such a patnership would entail.

The XFL also said it is putting its plans for the 2022 season on hold as discussions continue. The CFL canceled its 2020 season but is hoping to return to play June 10.

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