AP Sports SummaryBrief at 8:56 a.m. EST


Former NFL star, CBS anchor Irv Cross had brain disease CTE

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Philadelphia Eagle and CBS NFL announcer Irv Cross has been diagnosed with the brain disease CTE. Cross was 81 when he died Feb. 28, 2021. Boston University researchers say Cross suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The researchers said he suffered from stage 4 CTE, which is the most advanced kind of the disease. Irv Cross was diagnosed with mild cognitive dementia in 2018. Liz Cross says her late husband often felt angry, depressed and embarrassed in his final years, He struggled physically with his balance, was paranoid and had delusions often.

MLB average salary rose 14.8% to record $4.22M last season

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s average salary rose 14.8% to a record $4.22 million last year after the end of the lockout, boosted by big deals for Max Scherzer, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. The rate of increase was the highest since a 17.7% increase in 2000 to $1.61 million, according to final calculations by the players’ association. The average had dropped in each of the previous four seasons before 2022, sparking player anger that was expressed by the union during a 99-day lockout that ended last March.

Analysis: Scoot Henderson says he’s ready for NBA draft

Scoot Henderson is starting to watch the Harry Potter movies. He can easily explain what inertia is. He can’t understand why one of his friends always seems to beat him when they go online to play Madden. In his spare time, he’s also getting ready for the NBA draft. As the playoff push starts in the league, so does the draft push for those who will expect to hear their names called by Commissioner Adam Silver this June. Everybody knows French phenom Victor Wembanyama will be picked No. 1. There shouldn’t be much mystery about who’s going No. 2.

Alaba abused, Croatia coach critical following FIFA awards

GENEVA (AP) — Real Madrid defender David Alaba has been racially abused on social media after voting for Lionel Messi and Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has accused FIFA of disrespect in fallout from the soccer body’s annual awards ceremony. Messi was named the best men’s player on Monday and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema placed third. The awards were decided by a poll of national team captains and coaches, selected media and fans voting online. Alaba’s vote as Austria’s national team captain provoked anger from Real Madrid fans and others. Alaba is Black and Messi played for Madrid-rival Barcelona for 17 years. Dalić says he refused to vote in protest at a perceived lack of respect for himself and his team.

Conference championships on the line in season’s final week

The final week of the regular season is here, the calendar rounding toward March Madness. A handful of regular-season titles are already wrapped up. Several are still up in the air, like the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences. No. 25 Pittsburgh has a half-game lead over No. 16 Miami in the ACC with a game against the Hurricanes on Saturday. No. 3 Kansas leads No. 9 Texas by a game in the Big 12 and will play the Longhorns on Saturday. Top-ranked Houston and No. 4 UCLA are among the teams that have already clinched regular-season titles.

Column: Kyle Busch out to prove he is still best in NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch has made a dramatic recovery from losing his job after 15 years at Joe Gibbs Racing. He moved to Richard Childress Racing, the softest landing spot he could find. And even though RCR has long struggled to be competitive, Busch took the team to victory lane in just his third start in the No. 8 Chevrolet. Now he’s launched what could be a season-long redemption tour that should be troublesome to Busch’s competitors.

US women’s soccer coach paid 27% as much as men’s coach

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. women’s coach Vlatko Andonovski earned 27% as much as American men’s coach Gregg Berhalter in the year ending last March 31, down slightly from 28% in the previous year. Andonovski earned $446,495, according to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s tax filing, including $50,000 in bonus money for the Americans’ third-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics. Berhalter earned $1,641,398, including $300,000 in bonus money in a year that included winning the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

LaMelo Ball breaks ankle, latest setback in rough season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LaMelo Ball’s frustrating, injury-plagued season could be over after the point guard broke his right ankle in Charlotte’s 117-106 win over the Detroit Pistons. Ball has already missed 27 games this season after spraining his left ankle three different times. He and the Hornets were playing their best basketball of the season before the point guard fell to the floor on a non-contact play in the third quarter. X-rays revealed the fracture to his ankle. The Hornets have not said how much time Ball will miss. But with Charlotte well out of playoff contention, it’s unlikely he’ll be rushed back.

Mets’ Scherzer loves ‘cat-and-mouse’ game of MLB’s new rules

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer described pitching under Major League Baseball’s new rules as a “cat-and-mouse” game. Contrary to previous years, Scherzer feels the pitcher finally has control of the tempo because of the new pitch clock. In his first start of the Grapefruit League schedule, Scherzer was touched for a run in the second inning but struck out five while working the first two innings of the Mets’ 6-3 win over Washington. The average game time through three days of spring training is 2 hours, 39 minutes, down from an average of 3:01 for all of spring training last year.

AP sources: Haslams agree to purchase Lasry’s stake in Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the negotiations say Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have agreed to purchase Marc Lasry’s 25% stake of the Milwaukee Bucks in a deal that puts the value of the NBA franchise at $3.5 billion. The agreement has not been finalized. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Bucks nor the Haslams publicly disclosed any element of the agreement. The Haslams would be spending about $875 million for Lasry’s stake of the team. It would be the second-highest valuation in NBA history, behind the $4 billion valuation for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury when Mat Ishbia acquired them in a deal that closed this month.