The FCC has received hundreds of complaints about carriers’ coronavirus pledge
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said most complaints ‘have been resolved to ensure that the consumer remains connected’Pai told the committee that the FCC has received around 2,200 complaints related to COVID-19 over the last few weeks. Of those 2,200 complaints filed, 1,400 have received a response from the carrier, Pai said. Around 500 of those total complaints were filed specifically about the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, the agency’s primary response to the pandemic. “The other COVID-19 complaints involve questions about billing or network issues or broadband access generally,” Pai said.
The Washington Nationals will be restoring pay to their minor leaguers after players with the big club announced they'd be covering the difference in pay, according to ESPN.
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is ready to resume play to their minor league.
Washington originally announced Sunday that they'd be cutting the salary of all minor-league players this month as a result of financial hardships due to COVID-19, but have since decided to continue paying the players $400 per week through the end of June.
MLB mandated that all clubs pay their minor league players $400 per week through the end of May. Now that it's June, many clubs have released over a dozen minor league players in an effort to save money.
Ajit Pai’s FCC Has Received Over 2,000 Complaints Related to Covid-19
When lockdowns in the U.S. were just starting and it was clear everyone would be stuck at home for the long haul, the Federal Communications Commission pushed carriers to sign its Keep Americans Connected Pledge—a promise that no one would get their internet or telephone service cut off due to an inability to pay. Now, the FCC is saying that over 2,000 Americans have filed complaints related to covid-19. © Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News of the complaints, which was initially reported by the Verge, comes direct from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who gave a statement today at a House Energy and Commerce Committee forum.
While other clubs are cutting pay, the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds have made the decision to pay their minor-league players $400 per week through the entire season.
The 2020 MiLB season is expected to be canceled. If and when the MLB season begins, teams are expected to have expanded rosters in order to carry minor league players in case someone suffers an injury.
On Sunday, the MLBPA proposed a 114-game season beginning on June 30 that would end on Oct. 31 and include a two-year playoff expansion from 10 teams to 14 teams, the right for players to opt out of the season and a potential deferral of salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
The league and Players Association have been struggling to come to an agreement, and players are concerned about health, safety and pay cuts, among other things. Owners made their proposal to the union last week, suggesting a "sliding scale" salary structure, but the players didn't like the suggestion.
Nationals' World Series ring features some bizarre math and a baby shark
Breaking down the team's explanation for the number of stones on its celebratory jewelry.There's even a baby shark on the inside of the ring as a nod to Gerardo Parra's viral walk-up song that whipped Nationals Park into an arm-waving frenzy every time he had an at-bat.
MLB is expected to dismiss the counterproposal, according to Passan, but the two sides are going to need to work something out if they plan to have a 2020 season.
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- Washington Nationals players to help cover stipends for minor leaguers after pay cut
- Nationals will continue paying minor leaguers' full stipend after player objections
- The '250 or more K's in a season' quiz
Related slideshow: Rule changes that leagues should try out when sports resume (Provided by Yardbarker)
Rule changes that leagues should try out when sports resume
The unprecedented shutdown of all sports in the United States has been jarring for fans and devastating for the economy. Already, plans are in place to try and restart leagues, even without crowds, in an attempt to both restore a sense of normalcy as well as salvage television revenues and advertising dollars. Such a unique situation is the perfect excuse for leagues to try out experimental rule changes; if they aren't good, they can be swiftly discarded after one season. If they work, they could provide permanent, major improvements. Let's take a look at some rule changes leagues should experiment with when sports return.
Make the playing surface a billboard
There are already advertisements on NBA jerseys and courts and on certain portions of NHL rinks. With advertising revenues way down, this would an easy way to keep sponsors happy and bring in more revenue. Put ads in the paint in the NBA and in all faceoff circles in the NHL, for starters, and consider expanding further. It’s the kind of change that traditionalist fans might gripe about in normal times, but that will go virtually unnoticed in the current climate.
NBA power plays
Here’s a radical NBA idea: If a player commits a flagrant foul, instead of the opposition being awarded two shots and the ball, they get to play five-on-four for their next three possessions. Everything else about the game stays the same. It would both cut down on gratuitously physical play and also incentivize officials to avoid the kind of ticky-tack flagrant calls that sometimes draw the ire of fans. Most of all, it would be fun to watch teams try to employ power play and penalty kill strategies, but in basketball.
I don’t know how it would work. I don’t know if it could work for all or even some of the sports, but all I know is this: I want the four major sports leagues in this country to try and find a way to incorporate the soccer concept of relegation — which involves the worst few teams being sent a level down for a season — into their rules. The details would be hard to figure, but relegation would be the most radical change ever applied to sports in this country. Plus, it would end tanking as we know it.
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Pay-per-view game of the week
Die-hard sports fans crave access to their favorite players and teams more now than ever before. With leagues facing revenue issues, they should try to recoup some by having at least one game on pay-per-view every week, if not more frequently. What’s the hook? Anyone who buys the broadcast for a nominal fee — say a few dollars — will get an all-access experience. Cameras will follow players from an hour prior to game time, and all parties will be fully mic’ed up, with no delay. It would be like an episode of “Hard Knocks” or “24/7,” only better.
Make field goals tougher
NFL and college uprights are the same; 18 feet, 6 inches wide. This makes no sense. NFL kickers, by rights, should be the best of the best, and converting a field goal in the pros should be tougher. If the NBA shared the same three-point line as college basketball, it would be a farce. Moving the goalposts 2 feet closer together would make kicks tougher but not dramatically so, and it would make the best of the best, like Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, that much more valuable. Plus, the league should be able to track all kicks and find out how many missed kicks would have been good under the old system. It’s the kind of change that could fundamentally alter the nature of the sport — for the better.
Let’s dispense with the fairy tale: By and large, pitchers can’t hit. Their at-bats are painful, and now that outliers like Madison Bumgarner are drawing more attention and their mound opponents are treating them more like regular hitters, their failures are magnified. In fact, no National League team’s pitchers managed to hit even .200 as a group. The Mets were best, coming in at .166. Whenever baseball restarts, preventing injuries and making games more exciting should be paramount; the talked-about “Cactus” and “Grapefruit” Leagues give baseball the perfect chance to experiment with the designated hitter, guilt-free.
A year without replay
Some fans love replay and the fact that it has in many cases righted egregious wrongs. Others hate it and say its presence, and influence on sports, is too pervasive. While leagues could toy with rule changes to make their processes more efficient, they could also try out a complete eradication of the system and send sports back to the way they were a half-century ago. Missed calls would go up, but so too would drama. By the fourth or fifth time a team loses a game because of an obvious bad call, many fans will be pining for the good ol’ days of replay — or perhaps not.
The NBA three-point line is currently at 23 feet, 9 inches, with corner three pointers at 22 feet. That shot has become too easy for many players and subsequently has revolutionized the game. There are complaints, however, that the league has trended too heavily in that direction, at the expense of aesthetics. The league should implement a four-point line for the rest of the season. Put it far out — say 27 feet, at least — and see just how bold some of the game’s top shooters want to get. It’s a win-win; games become inherently more unpredictable and exciting, and court spacing becomes a fascinating exercise. Speaking of which…
No divisions or conferences
Baseball’s plan for starting the season already involves this, in a sense. If MLB goes with the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues, it will be completely abandoning the traditional American and National Leagues in favor of getting games in. If fans don’t mind the absence of traditional rivalries, why not try to balance the schedule as much as possible? The logistics are above my pay grade, but something that bears a passing resemblance to the English Premier League’s balanced schedule still seems like the most honest test of each team’s overall makeup.
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Widen the court
…The NBA also needs to widen the court. That would accommodate the aforementioned four-point shot, and also make the playing surface more appropriate for today’s caliber of athlete. The length of the court is fine, but widening things by at least 3 feet on each side would dramatically improve spacing and allow for more creativity. These might be dramatic changes, particularly if implemented in the stretch drive, but nothing about the 2020 sports year will ever be looked at as “normal.”
Want to make sure that baseball is taking social distancing seriously? Let the robots call balls and strikes while their human counterparts handle everything else. Whatever form the 2020 season takes, it is going to be strange. So why not give in to fans who think that human umpires make too many errors? One study showed that MLB umpires made 34,246 incorrect ball and strike calls for the year, which averaged out to 1.6 per inning. If the robots do a better job and the players like it, why not keep it?
This seems like a common sense maneuver for every league, perhaps hockey more than any other. No matter how well-conditioned and world-class professional athletes are, the unprecedented circumstances that they’ve had to deal with will make injuries more likely. Leagues can ease the burden on that front by relaxing certain roster rules and allowing for a handful of extra players. It means more jobs and theoretically better health. This sort of thing would normally be a weighty union-management issue, but in the present moment it should be a no-brainer.
The XFL (RIP) was onto something with its three-point conversion rule. Even if the NFL starts on time, it should still implement a rule that perfectly meshes risk with reward. Put the ball at the 10-yard line and give a team a chance to go for three. Most won’t do so, unless they have to, but the mere possibility of a nine-point possession should be enough to excite fans.
Everyone makes the playoffs
P.K. Subban might have had an ulterior motive with his idea, considering that the Devils stink, but his idea was intriguing nonetheless. If it’s not feasible to have something resembling a normal rest of the season for the NBA and NHL in particular, they should embrace the idea of every team making the playoffs. Make the games single-elimination, with only the current Presidents' Trophy front-runner being exempted in the NHL. The resulting chaos would be fascinating and would drive some fans nuts. Either way, it would be incredible to behold and a great idea.
An onside-kick replacement
Here we have another hypothetical rule change that isn’t some preposterous idea but rather one that would make football more exciting, take the game out of a specialist’s hands (or feet, in this case) and be more akin to real football. Instead of teams attempting onside kicks, they can choose to retain possession after scoring by attempting to convert a fourth-and-15 from their own 25-yard line. If they convert, they keep the ball with a fresh set of downs. If not, normal turnover on downs rules apply. It makes too much sense, which is why it won’t happen.
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HR Derby breaks the tie
Baseball seems likely to be the first sport to return, and therefore it should do so with a bang. What better way to tweak the rules for more excitement than to have the sport’s equivalent of a hockey shootout decide games? Once two scoreless extra innings are played, each team sends out a hitter to take one pitch from his chosen pitcher. The rules would be the exact same as the NHL’s. Best of three to start and then sudden death. It would cut down on lengthy games and provide built-in excitement for fans — a true win-win.
Power plays go a full two minutes - no matter what
Power plays in the NHL are already fun, but the most exciting, dramatic kind — five-minute majors — are exceedingly rare. Those power plays are the best because they don’t end if the team on the power play scores. Why not extend that dynamic to minor and double-minor penalties? It would provide an uptick in scoring, and perhaps more importantly, discourage clutching, grabbing and interference. As just about any hockey fan will tell you, a cleaner game is almost always a more exciting game.
4-on-4 hockey, with a caveat
As anyone who has watched the NHL can tell you, the game sometimes gets bogged down during 5-on-5 play. There are too many skaters, the quality of athlete is too good and defensive systems are too easy to implement. Yet another problem is that too many teams —all of them, really — play conservative late in tie games, not wanting to risk the point awarded for ending regulation play in a tie. The league should incentivize winning in regulation and make games more exciting by dictating that the last five minutes of any tie game must be played at 4-on-4. It would open up the ice, lead to more odd-man rushes and generally prevent games from going to overtime. Everyone wins, except the team that loses, but that’s how it should be.
The NFL is already scrapping its pass interference rule from last season, showing that to be a complete failure, something most people predicted would happen as soon as the rule was implemented. An AAF-style “Sky Judge” still hasn’t gained traction either, but it should. The Sky Judge could be a respected but aging referee from each crew, would be paid the same as the rest of the crew and have final say on judgment calls like pass interference. It would be a transparent way to adjudicate what are often the most pivotal penalty calls in a game.
Mercy rules across all sports
Condensing seasons is going to present problems in terms of player safety, and one way to minimize wear and tear issues is to implement a mercy rule — and not just for baseball. The NBA and NHL can do the same thing. The leagues have plenty of proprietary data to show them what combination of deficit and time remaining is essentially insurmountable, and when that threshold is reached, games should be called. It would add an inherent layer of drama, particularly in the NBA, and would save players from needless extra play.
Widen the nets
While hockey has the same “athlete to playing surface” ratio problem as the NBA, making NHL rinks bigger is both impractical and, in the minds of many experts, not a good solution to begin with. How can the league inject more scoring? There’s a simple solution: Widen the nets. Even a change of a few inches in width and height to the current 6x4 size will turn shots off the post and crossbar into goals. Goalie equipment has gotten bigger. Why shouldn’t the nets follow suit?
Bring the XFL to the NFL
The XFL (RIP, again) got several things right in its brief existence. Kickoffs were one of those things. The league successfully came up with a way to turn a play that had been rendered nearly obsolete in the NFL into something relatively safe and exciting. There is no good reason why the NFL can’t adopt the rule (coverage and return teams line up 5 yards away and can’t move until the return man fields the ball) exactly as it was applied in the XFL. It would change how teams build rosters, make special-teamers more valuable and add a dimension to the game that has mostly gone missing.
All access on the golf course
Golf appears as if it will be the first sport to start back up, as it is on an early-June timetable. There won’t be fans on the course, so to offset what is bound to be a somewhat unusual setting, the PGA Tour should mic up its golfers completely and have everything they say broadcast live. They can still apply the usual delay that “live” sports have, just in case there is the occasional profanity uttered, but fans would get a fascinating window into just how much thought and discussion goes into almost every shot.
Flip the college football and basketball seasons
If attendance is truly an integral part of the college football experience, the NCAA should pursue a radical solution: Flip the college basketball and football seasons so as to allow for more time for a COVID-19 vaccine to be developed. Attendance at basketball games can either be strictly monitored or prohibited altogether, and when the hoops season is over, college football can start — preferably just after the Super Bowl. Imagine finishing the NFL season and having college get going the following week. It would ruin the NFL’s offseason schedule but also be surreal to behold. Sign me up.
A tournament for the top pick
Maybe the NBA and NHL don’t want to adopt a radical “everyone makes the playoffs” approach. Fine. What they should do instead, to give the fans more basketball and more hockey, is have a single-elimination tournament between all non-playoff teams, with the winner receiving the top pick in the following year’s draft. This would incentivize winning, and not reward tanking, and would, as a simple one-off idea, provide more excitement. The thought of seeing also-ran teams playing their hearts out to land a coveted young talent? That’s compelling television in my book.
This isn’t so much a rule change as much as it is a suggestion. With social distancing a major focal point of the effort to bring COVID-19 under control, leagues should mandate that at least one game every day have no announcers. It isn’t that broadcasters are bad, of course, but watching a game with no commentary would be a fun novelty and would help keep on-site personnel numbers down.
All or nothing at the foul line
Foul shots are at times dramatic, like at the end of games, but in the early quarters, they slow basketball down. If a team is attempting to rally, the game turns even more glacial, with intentional fouls grinding things to a near halt. To speed up games in the NBA, WNBA and men’s and women’s college basketball, all shooting fouls should become one shot. The players who make said shot get two or three points, depending on what they were shooting when fouled. If they miss, they get nothing. It would be fascinating to see if the changed stakes tangibly impacted performance.
Fifth down - with a catch
Missouri football fans, please skip ahead. The rest of you, how does this sound? At both the collegiate and professional levels, teams are given the chance to have a fifth down one time per game. They can invoke the option at any time, with a catch; doing so results in an automatic 5-yard penalty, just to make things tougher. It would be a wild, fundamental change to the game but one that would likely make late-game scenarios and strategy that much more unpredictable and exciting.
Disrupt the (NFL) draft
The NFL prides itself on parity, and its draft is a television spectacle in and of itself. Still, there are always ways to make things better, and unpredictability is good. In that spirit, and with the draft so crucial to every team’s fortunes, the league should add a pick between the end of the third round and the beginning of the fourth — a place where both impact players and also-rans are selected — make all 32 teams eligible for it and pull one lucky team at random. The whole process could serve as the start of the draft’s final day, would make for compelling television and would invariably enrage fans when New England wins the pick three straight times.
Put pitchers and hitters on the clock
Major League Baseball has toyed with the idea of a pitch clock for several years now, and should use what will be a strange season to finally implement the idea. Give pitchers 20 seconds from the time they receive the ball back to the catcher. In that time frame, they must take some sort of action, be it a pitch or a pickoff throw. Stepping off the rubber more than twice without throwing a pitch? Guess what? You just had an automatic ball added to the count. Hitters who take all day will face similar penalties for stepping out of the box if they take a pitch without swinging. The first offense by a hitter earns a warning. Everything after? A called strike.
England: Premier League allows five instead of three changes in the future .
After the Bundesliga has already taken advantage of the IFAB decree, the Premier League is now increasing the contingent from three to five changes. © Provided by Goal Jürgen Klopp will be allowed to switch five times for the championship final sprint with Liverpool in the English Premier League. For the intended restart, the league announced to increase the contingent from three to five changes.