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Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

October 11, 2018

SPORTS GAMBLING

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Major League Baseball and the casino industry are entrenched in their views on a league proposal to get a cut from wagers placed on the sport following the repeal of a federal ban on sports betting earlier this year.

Representatives from both industries vigorously defended their believed right over the money during a panel at the casino industry’s top trade show in Las Vegas. The MLB and other pro leagues haves asked for a percentage of the wagers, and casinos have strongly opposed any direct payments.

Kenny Gersh, the league’s executive vice president of gaming, told the crowd of casino executives that a proposed 0.25 percent fee — which some have dubbed an “integrity fee” — is essentially a royalty that casino companies should pay if they are going to make money off of the sport. He defended it as a case of “fairness” and partnership with casino operators.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in May allowed states to legalize sports betting. Sports books have since then opened in New Jersey, West Virginia and other states.

Professional sports leagues have failed so far to convince any state to build the fees into their laws. Nevada, which has offered sports betting for years, does not pay an integrity fee.

“I mean, look, you want a cut of the revenue without any of the risk that’s associated with it,” Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association, countered during the Global Gaming Expo. “That’s why we have to go through the regulatory process. We invest billions of dollars in buildings, in our licenses that cost us millions of dollars to go through. You want us to take that risk, pay you and then you are going to benefit on the back end as well ... What you guys are proposing is not financially viable.”

NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There will not be an eighth NASCAR title for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.

Hendrick Motorsports will split the driver and crew chief — the longest pairing in NASCAR — at the end of a disappointing season. Johnson has not won a race in 17 months and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Johnson and Knaus won their record-tying seventh championship in 2016 but have slumped in the two years since.

“It’s no secret that Chad and Jimmie have experienced their ups and downs over the years,” owner Rick Hendrick said. “They’re fierce competitors, great friends and have immense respect for one another. They also fight like brothers. All three of us agree it’s finally time for new challenges and that a change will benefit them and the organization.”

Johnson and Knaus were partnered in 2002 when Knaus built the No. 48 team as part of a Hendrick expansion. They won a record-tying seven titles and made the playoffs in all 15 years of its existence.

There has sometimes been tension between the two, and Hendrick more than once considered splitting them for the good of the organization. The time finally came Wednesday in a personnel shakeup announced by the rebuilding organization.

“Chad and Jimmie will go down as one of the greatest combinations in sports history,” Hendrick said. “They defied the odds by performing at a championship level for longer than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. What they’ve accomplished together has been absolutely remarkable and will be celebrated for generations. This has been an incredible, storybook run.”

GOLF

The PGA Championship will remain with CBS Sports and pick up a powerful partner in ESPN for weekday rounds as part of an 11-year agreement in which the networks will combine to deliver 175 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable and digital platforms.

Financial terms of the deal announced Wednesday were not disclosed, though it was clear the PGA Championship is more attractive held in May than in August.

The agreement gives CBS and ESPN, which broadcast the Masters, the first two majors of the year.

“I can tell you from our standpoint, the property was more valuable in May than in August,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “We are paying a rights fee increase. It was definitely a more attractive package.”

McManus said the number of households watching on TV is higher in May, and he spoke of a “halo effect” in broadcasting the next major after the Masters, which is the highest-rated golf telecast of the year.

The PGA Championship had been held in August for the better part of 50 years. It moves next year to May as part of a restructured schedule that allows the PGA Tour to conclude its FedEx Cup on Aug. 25, a week before the start of football.

When the CBS-ESPN deal begins in 2020, the PGA Championship will be at Harding Park in San Francisco.

CBS first broadcast the PGA Championship from 1958 through 1964, and continuously since 1991. The network will continue to provide weekend coverage, adding an extra hour Saturday and Sunday under the new deal.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas fired offensive coordinator Doug Meacham with six games left in the season, ending the short tenure of what coach David Beaty hailed as a game-changing hire just last year.

Meacham had spent the previous three seasons as the co-offensive coordinator at Big 12 rival TCU when Beaty lured him to the Jayhawks. Meacham was expected to install a variation of the Air Raid offense that would put up the kind of points not seen in Lawrence in a decade.

Instead, the Jayhawks managed just 18.7 points per game last season. That has ticked up to 27.7 this year, but the Jayhawks are averaging just 19 points during three conference losses.

Beaty said he would handle the play-calling with help from the rest of his staff when Kansas (2-4) returns to the field against Texas Tech on Oct. 20.

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