Wednesday's Sports In Brief
NEW YORK (AP) Mets All-Star reliever Jeurys Familia accepted a 15-game suspension under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy, discipline stemming from an altercation last October.
The suspension was the fourth and least severe under the policy, which was agreed to in August 2015. New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman was penalized 29 games, Colorado shortstop Jose Reyes 59 days and Atlanta outfielder Hector Olivera 82 games.
Familia was arrested Oct. 31 on a simple assault charge, but prosecutors later dropped the case. Under the domestic violence policy, a player can be disciplined absent a criminal conviction
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Familia has undergone 12 90-minute counseling sessions, and that the counselor said Familia was willing to take steps to ensure he will not be involved in another incident. Familia also will speak to other players about his learning process and will donate time and money to domestic violence prevention organizations.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Referee John Higgins of Omaha reported he received death threats after Kentucky's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, a Nebraska law enforcement official said.
Higgins' roofing company received about 3,000 harassing emails and an unknown number of phone calls, some including death threats, said Capt. Kevin Griger, investigations commander for the Sarpy County Sheriff's Department.
North Carolina defeated Kentucky 75-73 on Sunday to advance to the Final Four, winning on Luke Maye's last-second shot. Kentucky coach John Calipari opened his news conference with a comment about foul calls, complaining about freshmen stars Bam Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk each picking up two fouls in the first half.
The Facebook page for Higgins' roofing company also was inundated with negative comments about Higgins and the quality of his company's work. Griger described it as an orchestrated effort to ''run down his Better Business Bureau rating.''
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant has been cleared for non-contact basketball drills and could return from his knee injury before the end of the regular season.
The Warriors said Durant will be re-evaluated in the next seven to 10 days as he recovers from a left knee and leg injury that has sidelined him since Feb. 28. The NBA regular season ends in two weeks.
The team says Durant has made good progress in his recovery and has had no setbacks. He has started shooting, running and jumping drills and will soon start doing more explosive cutting and lateral maneuvers. His return to contact drills and practice will be determined by how he handles these workouts.
The Warriors struggled initially without Durant but have won eight straight games heading into Wednesday night's showdown against San Antonio and have the best record in the league.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Police in Florida are investigating sexual battery allegations made by a woman against former NFL star Michael Irvin.
Fort Lauderdale police confirmed the Hall of Fame receiver's name was listed on a sexual battery incident report. The report says the alleged encounter involving Irvin took place at a Fort Lauderdale hotel on March 22.
A police spokeswoman said no other details were available. Irvin has not been charged with anything. An attorney for Irvin did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The 51-year-old Irvin starred for the University of Miami and the Dallas Cowboys. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007 and has worked as an analyst on the NFL Network.
In 2011, Irvin settled a woman's lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault.
BEIJING (AP) - The NHL will play its first games in China this fall when the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks meet in Beijing and Shanghai.
The preseason games will take place Sept. 21 in Shanghai and Sept. 23 in Beijing. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the launch of the NHL China Games at a news conference at Le Sports Center.
China is expected to be a large focus of the league's international ventures. Next season, the NHL is playing two regular-season games in Sweden between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.
Bettman called it a historic moment for the league and said the NHL's commitment to China goes beyond the 2022 Winter Olympics that are taking place in Beijing. He and other league officials have said it's a long-term arrangement with China that also includes contributions to growing grassroots hockey in the country.
NORTH CAROLINA ACADEMIC PROBE
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A federal judge has granted the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's request to dismiss the school from a lawsuit filed by two former Tar Heels athletes tied to its multiyear academic scandal.
U.S. District Court Judge Loretta C. Biggs stated the school had 11th Amendment immunity as an arm of the state that prevented it from being sued in federal court. The plaintiffs were former football player Michael McAdoo and former women's basketball player Kenya McBee.
Jeremi Duru, an attorney on the case, didn't immediately return a call for comment. UNC spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement the school was ''pleased and grateful'' for Biggs' decision.
McAdoo filed his class-action lawsuit in November 2014 amid the scandal tied to irregular courses in an academic department popular with athletes. McBee signed on months later.