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B2 WIRECHECK
WIRE CHECK

B2 WIRECHECK

BASKETBALL

NCAA cuts distribution

The NCAA will distribute $225 million to its Division I members in June, $375 million less than had been budgeted this year because the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the men's basketball tournament.

The NCAA said Thursday $50 million will come from its reserve fund. A $270 million event cancellation insurance policy will be used to pay off a line credit that will cover the remaining distribution. The NCAA had been scheduled to distribute $600 million to more than 300 Division I schools from April to June.

The NCAA pulled in more than a $1 billion in revenue last year, $867.5 million from the television and marketing rights for the the Division I men's basketball tournament. The tournament was canceled March 19, a week before the first round was schedule to begin.

WNBA draft goes virtual

NEW YORK — The WNBA draft will be a virtual event this year.

The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league's broadcast partner's network. She just isn't sure where she'll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.

The New York Liberty have the No. 1 pick and are expected to draft Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, who won the AP women's college basketball player of the year earlier this week.

N. Arizona keeps Burcar

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Shane Burcar will be Northern Arizona's full-time basketball coach. The school announced that Burcar will have the interim tag removed after leading the Lumberjacks to 16 wins last season.

Burcar was elevated to interim coach last June after Jack Murphy left to become associate head coach under Sean Miller at Arizona, his alma mater. Burcar spent one season on Murphy's staff after a 12-year tenure as the head coach at Mesa High School.

BASEBALL

Sox send down Kopech

CHICAGO — Right-hander Michael Kopech was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte by the Chicago White Sox.

The 23-year-old is among the top pitching prospects. He missed last season after he had Tommy John surgery in September 2018, but he hit triple-digits on the radar gun during his first spring training appearance on March 10.

Kopech was acquired by Chicago in the December 2016 trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. Kopech made his big league debut in 2018, going 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in four starts.

FOOTBALL

Jags, Dennard part 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars and cornerback Darqueze Dennard have parted ways nine days after agreeing to a three-year, $13.5 million contract in free agency.

The Jaguars said "the two sides could not come to an agreement on the final contract terms." Dennard agreed to the deal March 17, the night before the official start of the new league year. The contract included $6 million guaranteed.

But it never got signed, and the Jaguars decided to move in a different direction. They agreed to terms Tuesday with journeyman cornerback Rashaan Melvin on a one-year contract worth $2.25 million.

Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt

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