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Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

August 2, 2018

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Urban Meyer’s job appears to be in jeopardy.

Ohio State placed Meyer, one of the most successful coaches in college football history, on paid administrative leave Wednesday while it investigates claims that his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against an assistant coach years before the staff member was fired last week.

Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of fired Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, gave an interview to Stadium and provided text messages to former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy between her and Shelley Meyer in 2015 about Zach Smith’ behavior. Courtney Smith also provided threatening texts she said came from her ex-husband, and text messages between her and other wives of Buckeyes assistant coaches, discussing Zach Smith.

“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney Smith told Stadium. “I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.’”

Zach Smith, who has never been convicted of any crimes, was fired last week after an Ohio court granted a domestic violence protective order to Courtney Smith. A message left by the AP for Zach Smith’s attorney, Brad Koffel, requesting comment was not immediately returned.

PRO FOOTBALL

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Football’s giving Browns coach Hue Jackson refuge to cope with family loss.

Jackson, trying to turn around a Cleveland team that didn’t win a game in 16 tries last season, plans to remain with the team in training camp while mourning the recent deaths of his 83-year-old mother and brother in California.

A team spokesman confirmed Wednesday night that Jackson’s mother, Betty Lee, died over the weekend in Los Angeles following a long illness. Her passing came two weeks after Jackson’s brother, John Jr., died unexpectedly.

Jackson intends to stay with the Browns through next week’s exhibition opener against the New York Giants while the family finalizes funeral plans.

Jackson, who is in his third season with Cleveland, has not made any public comments about the deaths during camp, which opened last week. Beyond his daily duties, Jackson’s every move on and off the field as the Browns’ camp is being chronicled by cameras for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

OLYMPICS

MILAN (AP) — Italy will launch a three-city bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, Turin and Cortina.

The Italian Olympic Committee announced the move having decided a joint bid was more cost effective. It was unanimously voted for by the CONI board.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, however, has criticized the decision and says that while his city would still be willing to host Olympic events, it will not be involved in the governance of the bid.

According to CONI’s ‘Olympic Masterplan’, Milan will host four events: curling, women’s ice hockey, short track speed skating and figure skating.

Cortina would have the same number of competitions, with the sliding sports (bobsleigh, skeleton and luge) and Alpine skiing, while the Nordic combined and ski jumping would be held in nearby Val di Fiemme.

BASEBALL

TORONTO (AP) — A lawyer for former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna, who is facing an assault charge, is taking issue with comments from the general manager of his client’s new team, the Houston Astros.

The 23-year-old Osuna was arrested in May and charged in a domestic violence case.

He was traded to the Houston Astros on Monday and the general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club is “confident that Osuna is remorseful, has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior” and has proactively engaged in counseling.

Osuna’s lawyer, Domenic Basile, said Wednesday that his client is remorseful of the circumstances of the situation — which include being traded and a 75-game suspension — but plans to plead not guilty.

Osuna’s court case has been put over to Sept. 5.

The pitcher was suspended without pay for 75 games in June for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy and is eligible to pitch in the big leagues starting Sunday.

“I think he’s remorseful that the circumstances are what they are,” Basile said. “But at the end of the day in the criminal court ... his intention is to plead not guilty.”

SPORTS BETTING

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Resorts Casino Hotel and DraftKings on Wednesday received approval to become the first companies to offer online and mobile sports betting in New Jersey.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement gave approval to the casino and its Boston-based online partner to launch an invitation-only version of mobile sports betting, which will undergo several days of testing before becoming fully available. Requests for invitations to participate can be made at draftkings.com.

A launch was expected to happen Wednesday afternoon or evening.

The companies won a heated race to be first to market with mobile and online sports betting, which is widely seen as the most promising segment of the nascent sports betting market. New Jersey regulators are considering mobile applications from several other companies and could soon approve additional online providers.

Four casinos and two horse tracks currently offer in-person sports betting.

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