Thursday's sports stories

May 21, 2020 - Sports

This year’s baseball season hinges on a battle between owners and players

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Whether baseball is played this season hinges on an extremely contagious virus that is unlike anything we've ever seen. But next in line is whether MLB owners (billionaires) and players (mostly millionaires) can settle an economic dispute.

Why it matters: If the 2020 MLB season doesn't happen because of safety or logistical concerns, that's understandable. But if money is the issue a year after MLB grossed a record $10.7 billion in revenue, it would be a PR disaster — and the sport might never recover.

May 21, 2020 - Sports

IOC president: Tokyo Olympics would be canceled if not held in 2021

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in March. Photo: Denis Balibouse/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics would have to be canceled entirely if the coronavirus pandemic means they cannot be held in 2021, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told the BBC on Wednesday.

The state of play: "You cannot forever employ 3,000, or 5,000, people in an organizing committee. You cannot every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty. You cannot have so much overlapping with a future Olympic Games," Bach said.

Go deeper: Athletes who qualified for Tokyo Olympics to keep their spots in 2021

May 21, 2020 - Sports

Coronavirus forces a revamped Triple Crown schedule

American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown in 2015. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

The Belmont Stakes, generally held the first week in June, has been rescheduled for June 20.

Why it matters: For the first time ever, the Belmont will be the first leg of the Triple Crown, not the last. It will also be shorter than usual, giving this year's trio of races an entirely different feel.

May 20, 2020 - Sports

Golf and gymnastics lead the way on NCAA academic performance for athletes

Henry Shimp of Stanford analyzes the green during the Division I Men's Golf Match Play Championship last year. Photo: Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) report on Tuesday, which offers a snapshot of academic performance over a four-year span.

How it works: 1,000 is the top score, and programs are penalized with reduced scholarships and postseason bans if they dip below 930 — a score that predicts a 50% graduation rate.

May 20, 2020 - Sports

A plan to reimagine women's sports

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Athletes Unlimited is a new network of leagues that hopes to reinvent women's sports by bucking the traditional city-based model in favor of a more modern approach.

Driving the news: The plan is to launch three women's leagues over the next three years, beginning with softball, which will debut this August in Chicago, and volleyball, which will debut next February (location not announced).