The Sports Report: Pac-12, Big Ten cancel fall football

This Aug. 29, 2019, photo shows the Pac-12 logo at Sun Devil Stadium during a game in Tempe, Ariz.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

J. Brady McCollough on college football: What is a fall Saturday without college football?

With Tuesday’s announcements that the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences are canceling all fall sports — with the hope of moving their seasons to winter or spring — millions of fans on the West Coast and in the Midwest are about to find out. The rest of America might soon join them.

USC and UCLA haven’t missed a rivalry game in nearly a century. The Trojans and Bruins played amid the Great Depression and World War II. But with the start of football practice a week away in the Pac-12, the league’s presidents unanimously decided there was no option but to retreat in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ever since this nightmare began, we have been talking about what we would do and how we would approach this in regards to intercollegiate athletics,” Oregon President Michael H. Schill said.

“One of the things that’s really important is that we are science-based, we are academics, we’re going to be looking at facts, not just opinions. At the same time, we fully understand this has tremendous human impacts. We have students whose dream was to play this year, and that dream, at least in the fall, is not going to happen.”


In a sport so popular that it has created a multibillion-dollar industry with head coaches making as much as $9 million per year, big decisions are still made by university presidents.

“We listened to all the views, and we determined there’s too much uncertainty right now,” Schill said. “We really thought this was the morally correct thing to do.”


Big Ten cancels fall football season over coronavirus concerns, hopes to play in spring

For UCLA, the season’s end is a resolution that prompts more questions

USC’s Mike Bohn: Pac-12 cancellation ‘another incomprehensible consequence’ of coronavirus

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


Riquna Williams and Sydney Wiese each scored 17 points to help the Sparks beat the New York Liberty 93-78.

Candace Parker added 16 points for Los Angeles (6-3), which won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Parker also had four assists to move into 14th on the WNBA career list. Brittney Sykes scored 15 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 11.

Parker had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half as Los Angeles built a 51-34 lead.


Jazmine Jones scored a career-high 24 points for New York (1-7), which turned it over 26 times. Layshia Clarendon added 11 points and Amanda Zahui B had nine rebounds and 10 rebounds. The Liberty made 21 straight free throws before missing one in the closing four seconds.


Chargers coach Anthony Lynn revealed on the first episode of “Hard Knocks” that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The moment came Tuesday night during the opening scene of the first episode of the annual HBO series, which this year is featuring the Chargers and Rams.

“I can’t promise you you’re not going to get infected,” Lynn said to a group of his players on a videoconference call. “I got infected.”

Later, he explained that his experience began with a slight cough and then moved on to body aches. Lynn has since recovered.

He said he was watching a golf tournament during which one participant withdrew after testing positive. He said the golfer mentioned suffering from symptoms similar to the ones he felt.



Jerry West has always been direct and revealing about his personal history: the loss of a brother in the Korean War, his mental health challenges and his hyper-competitiveness, much of it detailed in his 2011 book, with Jonathan Coleman, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life.” Now in his third season as a Clippers consultant, West addresses those questions, in addition to questions about a possible, historic all-L.A. Western Conference finals, working both sides of Staples Center and the loss of Kobe Bryant, in Episode 6 of the Legends of Sport: Restarting the Clock podcast.

You can listen to Andy Bernstein’s interview West here. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Andy Bernstein: I reread your book and had a long talk with your co-author, Jonathan Coleman. And I asked Jonathan, “Was this book a catharsis for Jerry?” And he said that he believed that it wasn’t a catharsis, but that it was a cleansing. You told him that. What did you mean by that? What’s the difference?

Jerry West: I think a lot of us in life almost live a lie sometimes. People don’t look at what formed the person that you’ve become at all. And I know with me, I was almost ashamed of any success I had. That would be hard for people to believe. Winning was the only thing that mattered. I didn’t play for myself. I didn’t play for adulation. The thing that mattered most to me was to win.

It was such an awkward, complicated life for me when I first came to Los Angeles. I had a lot of success in college as a player and I could have gone to a lot of different schools because of my high school career. But I wanted to go to my state university. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done because my connection with West Virginia is still very strong. As I told (Clippers owner) Steve Ballmer, I wish I had been able to amass a lot of money because that would have been completely the charity of my choice. Even though I’ve done some things for the university to try to help kids get an education to honor my brother who was killed in Korea, the awkward part is. . . . I wish I would have done something really important in my life. Something really important.


Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The San Padres arrived in Los Angeles for a four-game series this week against the Dodgers intent on leaving an impression. They strive to be considered a real playoff contender. They want the Dodgers to sense the National League West isn’t a given. After dropping two of three in San Diego last week, they sought to prove they can compete with the division’s bully.


They’re making their point through two games, beating the Dodgers, 6-2, Tuesday for the second straight night at Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers’ offense continues to sputter.

The Dodgers gifted their visitors a five-run third inning with throwing errors on back-to-back sacrifice bunts. Starter Ross Stripling sailed a throw over first base for the first error. Third baseman Justin Turner then made an errant on-the-run throw charging Jurickson Profar’s bunt.

Manny Machado later capitalized by swatting a grand slam against his former team. The Dodgers couldn’t recover. They didn’t score again until the ninth inning. They’ve totaled three runs in the series’ first two games.


Mike DiGiovanna on the Angels: For all of Anthony Rendon’s struggles to make consistent contact in his first 12 games, Angels manager Joe Maddon saw one reason for encouragement that his new third baseman was on the verge of breaking out of an early season funk.

While Rendon’s average fell to a dismal .103 after Sunday’s loss at Texas, his on-base percentage stood at .364, thanks to the 14 walks—tied for the second-most in the major leagues—he had drawn.

“It tells me one thing, that for the most part, he’s not expanding the strike zone,” Maddon said. “But the bad part is that he’s been missing his pitch. There’s been a lot of foul balls straight back.


“For me, it’s just a matter of time with this guy. It will be a rhythm thing or a feel thing, and once he gets ignited, once he gets toasty, man … it’s not going to go away.”

Rendon, the former Washington Nationals star who signed a seven-year, $245-million deal with the Angels in December, might not fit Maddon’s definition of “toasty” just yet, but he’s definitely getting warmed up.

Rendon sparked a five-run, fourth-inning rally with a leadoff homer to left field Tuesday night, snapping a scoreless tie with his second homer in as many games to jump-start a 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium.

Jason Castro followed singles by Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols with a three-run homer to center and Brian Goodwin hit a solo shot to right in the fourth to propel the Angels toward their second straight win over a team that arrived in Anaheim with a nine-game win streak.
Section copy.


All times Pacific.

San Diego at Dodgers, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Oakland at Angels, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Clippers vs. Denver, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, ESPN


The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw joined Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver on this date in 2015 when he became the third pitcher in modern baseball history to strike out 200 batters or more in at least six straight seasons.

In a 3-0 win against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw pitched eight scoreless innings, gave up three hits and struck out eight batters that raised his major league-leading season total to 205.

Kershaw said he appreciated his latest entry into the history books because of what it represents. “I like consistency,” he said after the game.

Koufax’s 200-plus strikeout streak was from 1961 to 1966 and Seaver’s spanned from 1968 to 1976.


More memorable games and outstanding sports performances on Aug. 12:

1953 — Helicopter, a previously unheralded brown filly from Canada, clinched the Hambletonian Stakes when she won the trotting race’s second and third heats. Helicopter, ridden by Harry Harvey, took the lead in the third heat when Kimberly Kid went off-stride and Harvey was able to pass for the surprise victory at Meadowlands Racetrack in Goshen, N.Y.

1964 — Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees set a major league record when he hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the 10th time in his career during a 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mantle socked a left-handed home run off Ray Herbert that sailed over the 461-foot sign in center field and landed 15 rows into the bleachers, 502 feet from home plate.

1966 — Art Shamsky of the Reds hit three home runs in a 14-11, 13-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Two of Shamsky’s home runs came in the 10th and 11th innings after he had entered the game for defensive purposes in the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, he hit a two-run clout off Al McBean that put the Reds ahead 8-7 and added a solo shot to tie the game 9-9 in the 10th off Elroy Face. Shamsky came back in the 11th inning with a two-run blast off Billy O’Dell to tie the game again at 11-11. The Pirates scored three runs in the top of the 13th and hung on for the victory.

1974 — Nolan Ryan of the Angels broke Bob Feller’s American League record of 18 strikeouts in a nine-inning game when he fanned 19 Boston Red Sox batters in a 4-2 victory at Anaheim Stadium. Ryan tied the major league record held by Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver, who both struck out 19 in 1969 and 1970, respectively.

1990 — Wayne Grady of Australia shed his image of being a runner-up when he beat Fred Couples by three strokes at the PGA Championship at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. For Grady, who had 29 second-place finishes, the win was his only major tournament victory . He led by two strokes after three rounds and his final-round 71 gave him a total of 282 to Couples’ 285.

2000 — Evander Holyfield scored a 12-round unanimous decision over John Ruiz in Las Vegas and won the vacant World Boxing Assn. heavyweight title. Outside of being staggered by a Holyfield punch in the third round, Ruiz effectively landed jabs throughout the fight and was never in danger of being stopped. Judges Duane Ford and Dave Moretti scored the bout close, 114-113, while judge Fernando Viso had it 116-112, making Holyfield the first boxer to be heavyweight champion four times.


2001 — Wendy Ward set LPGA scoring records for a 54-hole tournament when she won the Wendy’s Championship for Children by three shots over Annika Sorenstam and Moira Dunn at the New Albany Country Club in Ohio. Ward’s 54-hole hole total of 21-under-par 195 was a tour record for a 54-hole tournament, both in relation to par and scoring total. With her lead down to two strokes in the final round, Ward smashed a five-wood onto the green on the par-5 No. 6 hole and made the birdie putt that swung the momentum back in her favor.

2007 — Tiger Woods won his fourth PGA Championship and his 13th major tournament when he beat Woody Austin by two strokes at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Woods, who at one time led by five shots, saw his advantage dwindle to just one stroke when he bogeyed the 14th hole. But he birdied No. 15 and was even the rest of the way for a one-under-par 69 and a 272 total.

2012 — The U.S. men’s basketball team fought off a stirring challenge by Spain and pulled away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and its second straight Olympic championship at the Summer Games in London. The victory gave the Americans their 46th gold medal of the Games, the most ever by U.S. athletes in an Olympics in a foreign country. Kevin Durant scored 30 points for the U.S. and Pau Gasol led the Spaniards with 24 points.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press

And finally

Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura duke it out. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.