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Wednesday's Sports in Brief

VIRUS OUTBREAK

The NBA became the first major American sports league to suspend play because of the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about the future of college basketball's March Madness and other pro sports.

It looked as if the NBA might be moving toward playing in empty arenas before it announced that a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus and it had decided to pause its season. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the presumptive positive test. The test result, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the Utah at Oklahoma City game was called off. New Orleans at Sacramento also was postponed after the announcement.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said earlier in the day that only essential staff and limited family will be allowed to attend the upcoming NCAA basketball tournaments. But the organization could reassess its plans in the wake of the move by the NBA.

Upcoming NHL games scheduled for Columbus, Ohio, and San Jose, California, and college basketball tournaments for the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12, Southeastern, Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10 and American Athletic conferences will be played without fans. The Ivy League canceled all spring sports, as many American schools told students not to return from spring break and prepare for classes to be taught online.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg was taken to a hospital for evaluation after he left an 89-64 loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament due to a cold.

Hoiberg was in visible discomfort on the Cornhuskers' bench. Doc Sadler took over after Hoiberg left the floor in the second half.

Nebraska did not make any players or coaches available to the media after the loss. The school announced Hoiberg was checked by medical personnel before the game, and then became ill later. He was taken a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a common cold and then released, according to the school.

The Big Ten is closing the rest of the tournament to fans over fears of exposure to the coronavirus.

WOMEN'S SOCCER

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The increasingly bitter dispute between American women's national soccer team and the U.S. Soccer Federation spilled onto the field when players wore their warm-up jerseys inside out in a protest before their 3-1 victory over Japan.

Players filed a gender discrimination suit against the USSF last year, a case scheduled for trial starting May 5 in federal court in Los Angeles. The USSF submitted legal papers this week claiming that the women are less skilled and have less-demanding roles than the men on its national team.

By wearing their jerseys inside out for the national anthems and team photo, players hid the USSF crest on the jerseys but allowed the four stars — one for each World Cup title — to be visible.

The victory gave the U.S. the title in the SheBelieves Cup, a prep tournament for this year's Olympics. Late in the second half, USSF president Carlos Cordeiro issued an apology and announced a shakeup to the federation's legal team.

NCAA LAWSUIT

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Three former student-athletes who say they were sexually abused by a track coach sued the NCAA, its board of governors and the coach, alleging the governing body didn't do enough to protect NCAA athletes.

Londa Bevins, Jessica Johnson and Erin Aldrich — who represented the U.S. in the 2000 Olympics — are seeking class action status for the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The women say they were sexually abused and harassed by John Rembao while he worked at the University of Texas and the University of Arizona.

The suit aims to include NCAA student-athletes, who also say they were put at risk by the inaction of the governing body since 1992.

OLYMPICS

A bill that calls for prison time for those who participate in international doping schemes moved one step closer to becoming law when it passed a Senate committee on a voice vote.

The Rodchenkov Act, named for the Moscow lab director, Gregory Rodchenkov, who blew the whistle on Russia’s cheating at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will next be considered by the full Senate.

The House already passed it on a voice vote, and the Senate committee's action was a strong indicator that U.S. lawmakers are not heeding the warnings coming from international sports leaders about the consequences of such a law.

Both the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency have aggressively sought changes in the legislation, concerned that such a bill would give the U.S. jurisdiction over doping issues that occur overseas. In a letter sent to senators last month, WADA said some of the provisions of the bill would create a “chaotic World Anti-Doping system with no legal predictability.”

Associated Press

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Robert Griffin

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