SPORTS DIGEST ||Phantoms to play Saints on Friday

Phantoms to play Saints on Friday


Two first-round upsets mean the Youngstown Phantoms will host the fifth-seeded Dubuque Fighting Saints on Friday at the Covelli Centre. Puck-drop will be at 7:05 p.m.

The Fighting Saints swept their best-of-three series with the Green Bay Gamblers, winning 3-1 and 5-1 on the road.

Wednesday, the sixth-seeded Chicago Steel ousted the Muskegon Lumberjacks 5-4. The Steel and Lumberjacks split the first two games (3-2 Muskegon and 6-2 Chicago).

The Phantoms own the Eastern Conference’s second seed.

NCAA: Ex-players cannot practice


The NCAA Division I Council has banned college football teams from using former players in practice and tabled a proposal to let players participate in four games while still redshirting.

The Division I Council announced several rule changes Wednesday, including a new recruiting calendar for all sports not including football and basketball. The council also lifted a ban on alcohol sales at NCAA championships, following a two-year pilot program where alcohol was available at several events.

Alabama has drawn attention for using former players such as Trent Richardson and Blake Sims on scout teams in recent years. Last year, Clemson had former Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd mimic Alabama’s Jalen Hurts in practice to prepare for a playoff game against the Crimson Tide.

Judge bars firm from leading NFL settlement


A federal judge has denied a law firm’s request to be added as an administrator of the NFL’s estimated $1 billion concussion settlement.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody rejected an attempt from the Locks Law Firm to join the process that compensates former players for head injuries they sustained during their careers. The firm had claimed that the process was going too slowly.

In a two-page order issued Wednesday, Brody said existing administrator Seeger Weiss has done a “fine job.”

The settlement resolved thousands of lawsuits that accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the risks of repeated concussions. Players who suffer from neurological problems linked to head trauma could receive as much as $5 million apiece.

Alvarez suspended for doping violations


Nevada boxing regulators have suspended Canelo Alvarez for six months for doping violations.

Neither Alvarez nor representatives from Golden Boy Promotions appeared Wednesday during the Nevada Athletic Commission’s monthly meeting, where the suspension was handed down. Lawyer Ricardo Cestero represented Alvarez via phone.

Caroline Bateman, a Nevada deputy attorney general, suggested a punishment of six months from the date of Alvarez’s first positive test, on Feb. 17.

Alvarez also must undergo drug tests. With Alvarez’s May 5 rematch with Gennady Golovkin canceled, there is no forthcoming purse.

Bateman says Alvarez has been cooperative since testing positive, which was a contributing factor in handing down a punishment less than the standard disciplinary sanction of one year.

Hester, Forte to retire with Bears


Record-setting return specialist Devin Hester and running back Matt Forte will sign one-day contracts with the Chicago Bears and retire as members of the organization.

Both players spent their first eight seasons in Chicago.

Forte’s 9,796 yards rushing in 10 seasons with the Bears and New York Jets rank 33rd on the NFL’s career list. He also had 554 receptions and 14,468 yards from scrimmage — most in the NFL in the past decade.

Hester holds the NFL record with 20 kick return touchdowns in 11 years with Chicago, Atlanta and Baltimore.

Staff/wire report

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