Heisman to be awarded Jan. 5
The Heisman Trophy will be presented Jan. 5, but without the usual ceremony held in New York City, and the finalists will be revealed on Christmas Eve. The reworked Heisman schedule was revealed Saturday on ESPN. The deadline for Heisman voters to submit their ballots is now Dec. 21, two days after the conference championship games are scheduled to be played. Before college football schedules were revised because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Heisman was set to be handed out Dec. 12. Now it will be awarded during the 10 days between the College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1 and the championship game on Jan. 11. The Tuesday night presentation ceremony on ESPN will originate from the network's studios in Bristol, Conn. The finalists will appear via satellite.
Bills' CB out with virus
Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman has tested positive for covid-19 and will be one of four players and one assistant coach not traveling with the team for its game at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The AFC East-leading Bills announced Saturday the NFL had told them about Norman's positive test. The team also ruled out tight end Tyler Kroft, cornerback Levi Wallace and safety Dean Marlowe by placing them on the reserve/covid-19 list. The three were deemed to have been in close contact with Norman. Defensive assistant coach Leonard Johnson also will not travel with the team.
Browns activate RB Chubb
Cleveland activated running back Nick Chubb from injured reserve Saturday, clearing the way for him to play today against Houston after missing four games with a sprained right knee. Chubb practiced this week for the first time since hurting his knee while blocking early in an Oct. 4 win over Dallas. The Browns (5-3) were leading the NFL in rushing when Chubb got hurt, but Cleveland's offense hasn't been the same without the 2019 Pro Bowler. Chubb looked quick and made all his cuts without any setbacks this week, but Coach Kevin Stefanski waited to talk to the team's medical staff before deciding to put him back on the roster. He will return to face a Houston defense that is allowing a league-worst 159.5 yards rushing per game.
Pace dies at 59
Jim Pace, the overall winner of the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona, has died after contracting covid-19. He was 59. Pace's family said he died Friday in Memphis. "Racer, teacher, and loyal friend," IMSA President John Doonan said. "These are three simple words to describe Jim Pace. All of us at IMSA are devastated by losing such a great champion." Born in in 1961 in Monticello, Miss., Pace began his racing career in the Barber Saab Pro Series in 1988. He soon moved to sports car racing and won the GTU class at the 1990 24 Hours of Daytona. Six years later at Daytona, Pace won with fellow drivers Scott Sharp and Wayne Taylor in a Riley & Scott Mk III, and he also won the 12 Hours of Sebring that year in the same car, with Taylor and Eric Van de Poele. He took his third victory of that season at Texas World Speedway, co-driving with Taylor.
Auction earns almost $2M
Personal memorabilia from the career of Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench was auctioned for just under $2 million. The sale that involved live and online bidding ended Saturday at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Kentucky, not far from where Bench was a 14-time All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds during his 17-year major league career. David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, said bidding easily exceeded pre-sale estimates. Bench's 1976 World Series ring and trophy sold for $146,875 each. His 1975 World Series ring went for $135,125. The trophy from the Big Red Machine's title that year sold for $88,125. Bench's plaque for being the 1970 National League MVP was bought for $135,125. His Reds home jersey from 1983 sold for $105,750. Bench, who turns 73 in December, told The Associated Press last month that he planned to use the auction proceeds to fund his youngest children's college educations.
Rosario wins No. 3,000
Jockey Joel Rosario earned his 3,000th career victory in a race at Aqueduct in New York. The 35-year-old rider reached the plateau in Friday's first race, guiding Hit the Woah to a 1 1/4-length victory. He rode his first winner in 2006 and has compiled at least 150 wins every year since 2007. Rosario won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb, and won the Belmont Stakes in 2014 and 2019. He has 13 Breeders' Cup victories.
Italian earns first title
Italian player Jannik Sinner earned his maiden ATP title after beating Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the Sofia (Bulgaria) Open final on Saturday. At 19, Sinner became the youngest man to capture an ATP title in more than 12 years, after Kei Nishikori, then 18, in 2008 at Delray Beach. Sinner is the youngest player in the top 100, and will crack the top 40 for the first time in the rankings update on Monday. Pospisil was also trying to win his maiden title but the Canadian lost a second final this year beside the Open Sud de France in February.
Top seeds reach finals
Top seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens had three-set wins to advance to the final of the season-ending Upper Austria Ladies Linz on Saturday. The 11th-ranked Sabalenka outlasted Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, and Mertens rallied to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova 2-6, 6-1, 7-5. By reaching the final, Sabalenka will enter the top 10 of the WTA rankings for the first time, overtaking Serena Williams. Sabalenka and Mertens are regular doubles partners on the tour. Sabalenka is after her eighth career title and third of the season. Apart from Simona Halep, no other player has won three events in the shortened 2020 season. The 21st-ranked Mertens could win her sixth title, but first of the year.