ABC - Sports News

ABC NewsBY: JULIE SONE, ALEX STONE, and LESLEY MESSER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) --  Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit last Thursday against Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva over "gratuitous" photographs that sheriff's deputies allegedly took at the site of the January helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine people, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

Citing negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Bryant's lawsuit states that in the immediate aftermath of the helicopter crash, at least eight sheriff's deputies at the scene used their cell phones to take personal photos of the victims, three of whom were children.

The filing adds that one of the deputies later showed the images to a woman at a bar, and a bartender who overheard the conversation alerted the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. However, according to the lawsuit, Villanueva did not follow LASD protocol, and instead told the deputies involved that if they deleted the images, which were not taken for official purposes, they wouldn't be disciplined.

"The Sheriff's Department's outrageous actions have caused Mrs. Bryant severe emotional distress and compounded the trauma of losing Kobe and Gianna," the lawsuit states. "Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online."

Representatives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Villanueva had no immediate comment.

Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, were on their way to a basketball game with six others when their helicopter crashed on Jan. 26. Everyone on board, including the pilot, was killed.

In February, the Los Angeles Times broke the news that deputies took photos at the crash site, and Villanueva later apologized to the victims' families. The sheriff told NBC4 in Los Angeles at the time that his "number one priority was to make sure those photos no longer exist," rather than punish the deputies who took them.

"Had we done the original, usual routine, which was relieve everybody of duty and everybody lawyers up and all that, that would increase the odds tenfold that those photos would have some how made their way into the public domain. And that's definitely what we do not want," he said.

He added that he also planned to institute a policy that would criminalize the taking of "unauthorized photos of accident scenes that depict the remains of those deceased." In August, the California Senate approved a bill that does just that, according to the Los Angeles Times. The bill is now with California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign.

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ABC NewsBy JEANETTE TORRES-PEREZ, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is making a historic move to the sidelines.

The two-time Super Bowl winner has been named the head coach of Jackson State University’s football program.

Sanders, 53, appeared on ABC News’ Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss the move and how he plans to make an impact at the HBCU in Mississippi:

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Aurelien Meunier/Getty ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The greatest of all time on the basketball court is getting closer to his North Carolina roots and gearing up for a new venture on the racetrack.

Michael Jordan has "agreed to purchase a NASCAR Cup Series Charter and Bubba Wallace will be the driver for 'His Airness' with partner Denny Hamlin when the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season begins," NASCAR announced Monday.

Jordan's entry into the sport marks the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup series team since 1973, when Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own race car in 495 races over 12 years.

Jordan, the current owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, said he has been a lifelong race fan and felt like this was the perfect time to get involved in the sport.

"Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I've been a NASCAR fan my whole life," Jordan said in a news release. "The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more."

Hamlin shared a full statement on Twitter alongside a photo of himself in a firesuit standing next to Jordan inside a motorhome at a NASCAR track.

"Eleven years ago, I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game, and we became fast friends," Hamlin wrote. "Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years, and now we are ready to take it to the next level."

Tonight, I’m excited to announce MJ and I are starting a new, single car @NASCAR Cup Series team for 2021. Deciding on a driver was easy - it had to be @BubbaWallace. pic.twitter.com/nIJv0X6ZOX

— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) September 22, 2020

The three-time Daytona 500 winner said he remains focused on winning this year's Cup title but shared the exciting news about the next step with the Cup Series' only full-time Black driver.

"Deciding on the driver was easy -- it had to be Bubba Wallace," Hamlin wrote.

Wallace, 27, made headlines in his push for racial equality and successfully got NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at all events.

Wallace also had his career best season in the Cup Series this year and announced earlier this month that he would not be returning to Richard Petty Motorsports, who hired him full-time for the 2018 season.

"This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career," Wallace said in a statement Monday. "Both Michael and Denny are great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins. I'm grateful and humbled that Michael and Denny believe in me and I'm super pumped to begin this adventure with them."

This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.

🤘🏾

BW https://t.co/q5tCyiurpi

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 22, 2020

Jordan joins former NBA player Brad Daugherty, a partner at JTG Daugherty Racing, as the only Black owners at NASCAR's elite Cup level.

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iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Tampa Bay 2, NY Mets 1
Kansas City 4, St. Louis 1

AMERICAN LEAGUE
LA Angels 8, Texas 5
Cleveland 7, Chi White Sox 4
Toronto 11, NY Yankees 5
Seattle 6, Houston 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Cincinnati 6, Milwaukee 3
Washington 5, Philadelphia 1
Chi Cubs 5, Pittsburgh 0
Atlanta 5, Miami 4
Colorado 7, San Francisco 2

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Tampa Bay 3, Dallas 2 (Series tied 1-1)

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Las Vegas 34, New Orleans 24

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iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Cincinnati 7, Chi White Sox 3
Milwaukee 5, Kansas City 3
Houston 3, Arizona 2
Toronto 6, Philadelphia 3
San Francisco 14, Oakland 2
San Diego 7, Seattle 4
Minnesota 4, Chi Cubs 0

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Baltimore 2, Tampa Bay 1
Cleveland 7, Detroit 4
Boston 10, NY Yankees 2
Texas 7, LA Angels 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami 2, Washington 1
Washington 15, Miami 0
Atlanta 7, NY Mets 0
Colorado 6, LA Dodgers 3
St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
LA Lakers 105, Denver 103 (LA leads 2-0)

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Tennessee 33, Jacksonville 30
Chicago 17, NY Giants 13
Green Bay 42, Detroit 21
Tampa Bay 31, Carolina 17
Buffalo 31, Miami 28
San Francisco 31, NY Jets 13
LA Rams 37, Philadelphia 19
Dallas 40, Atlanta 39
Pittsburgh 26, Denver 21
Indianapolis 28, Minnesota 11
Arizona 30, Washington 15
Baltimore 33, Houston 16
Kansas City 23, LA Chargers 20 (OT)
Seattle 35, New England 30

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Connecticut 87, Las Vegas 62
Minnesota at Seattle (Postponed)

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Philadelphia 4, Montreal 1
Seattle at FC Dallas (Canceled)
D.C. United at Los Angeles FC (Canceled)

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iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Boston 5, Miami 3
LA Angels 7, Arizona 3
San Francisco 6, Seattle 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Chi White Sox 4, Minnesota 3
Tampa Bay 3, Baltimore 1
Houston 2, Texas 1
Cleveland 10, Detroit 3
NY Yankees 10, Toronto 7
Tampa Bay 10, Baltimore 6

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 5, St. Louis 1
NY Mets 10, Philadelphia 6
LA Dodgers 9, Colorado 3

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Miami 106, Boston 101 (Miami leads 2-0)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Tampa Bay 2, NY Islanders 1 (Tampa Bay wins series 4-2)

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Cleveland 35, Cincinnati 30

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

Minnesota 80, Phoenix 79
Connecticut 73, Los Angeles 59

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fstop123/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(MADISON, Wisc.) -- A day after the Big Ten decided to resume the football season, local officials announced University of Wisconsin, Madison has had over 40 football players and staff test positive for COVID-19 so far.

On Wednesday, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors announced that the conference's football season will resume next month, after previously voting to postpone it until the spring. That same day, officials in UW-Madison's county released a statement advising students and people living in Dane County, where the university sits, not to gather to watch Badger football games.

"Of course it's disappointing that something as well-loved as gathering to watch Badger football games can't happen this year," Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in the statement. "But the reality is that it's not possible to have a traditional football season without substantially increasing COVID-19 transmission. We value people's health and lives over sports, and we hope that UW does as well."

Since students began returning to campus in late August, the university has seen a "record" number of cases, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi noted in the statement. UW-Madison has paused in-person instruction for two weeks, through Sept. 25, to address a "rapid increase" in COVID-19 cases among students living both on and off campus. Parisi warned that festivities around football Saturdays "are going to serve as new spreading events within our community."

The city's mayor voiced similar concerns. "The increase in cases we are seeing is predominantly due to parties. Adding football parties into this mix is only going to make the situation worse," Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in the statement.

On Thursday, UW-Madison reported 190 new positive COVID-19 tests among students and employees from on- and off-campus testing. As of Thursday morning, 400 students were in on-campus isolation, it said. There have been nearly 2,400 confirmed cases among UW-Madison students and employees since July 28, according to Public Health Madison & Dane County.

As of Wednesday, 42 players and staff on the football team had tested positive for COVID-19, noting the risks posed to student-athletes during the pandemic, according to the county health department. "Emerging evidence and research is showing that even though athletes recover from COVID-19, serious long term health issues can persist, including myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure," the statement said.

The university started testing student-athletes and staff in June.

New medical protocols announced by Big Ten officials this week include daily antigen testing for student-athletes, coaches, trainers and others on the field for practices and games. The 14 Big Ten institutions will also establish a cardiac registry to examine the effects on COVID-19-positive student-athletes, they said.

In its statement, the county health department said it does not have authority over the university's campus, including Camp Randall football stadium, but that it will continue to enforce its public health orders in partnership with the Madison Police Department when it can. Per an executive order, mass gatherings indoors are limited to 10 people, and those outside are limited to 25, not including employees.

UW spokesperson Greg Bump said in a statement to ABC News that the university would "further coordinate with local agencies and public health regarding game days."

"Saturdays at Camp Randall will look very different," the statement said, noting that Big Ten officials are not allowing any fans in the stands or public ticket sales. The university is currently working on plans to allow the families of student-athletes to attend the games, Bump said.

"Game day usually means getting together but now, in order to protect the season and our community, we all need to cheer the Badgers responsibly and in accordance with public health guidelines," the statement said.

The Big Ten has yet to release the schedule for the season, which is set to start the weekend of Oct. 23.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesBy TOM BERMAN and HALEY YAMADA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was murdered more than a decade ago in a plan involving his ex-wife, but Wright’s family and friends are still dealing with many unanswered questions, including "why?"

“When you’re the mother of six kids and you’re married to their father, and you would [want to] see him dead, that’s just evil. That’s wicked,” Montae Nevels, Wright's friend, told 20/20.

“I hope the truth comes out,” Phil Dotson, another of his friends, told 20/20.

Growing up in Oxford, Mississippi, Wright found a fierce passion for playing basketball. His success on the high school and collegiate levels in Memphis, Tennessee, eventually culminated into his being the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft when he headed to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wright eventually moved to the Atlanta Hawks and then was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.

“To be able to play high school ball here, to play college ball and then to play in the NBA in front of your hometown, I don't know if it gets any better than that,” Dotson said.

Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, was thrilled to have her son home again.

“It was great because my dad was still living and my mom... They were getting older. But then they could actually see their grandson do something,” Marion said.

Although he skyrocketed into the fast life of the NBA, Wright’s childhood friends said that he never lost touch with his roots.

“He would give people jobs,” said Dotson. “He just wanted his buddies around to enjoy the fruits of his labor. … It was like Disneyland at his house!”

While playing summer basketball in his junior year of high school, Wright met his ex-wife Sherra Robinson, who became Sherra Wright Robinson. Her father happened to be his coach and friends said Wright fell for her.

“She was easy on the eyes,” Nevels said. “I don’t think he had never ever [come] in contact with anyone that looked like Sherra.”

The couple eventually started dating and had their first child together -- a son named Lorenzen Jr. But Wright's mother said she never fell for his ex-wife's charm.

After having Lorenzen Jr., the couple got married and had a daughter named Loren, twin boys named Lamar and Shamar, another daughter named Sofia, a son named Lawson and a girl named Sierra, who died of sudden infant death syndrome when she was a baby.

Fighting to stay in the league, Wright was at the tail end of his career when he went back to the Hawks for a time, and then played for the Sacramento Kings and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s estimated that Wright had earned around $55 million over the course of his NBA career. But, as Nevels put it, “just as fast as he was making money, money was being spent.”

There were also accusations of infidelity in the relationship on both sides. After 13 years together, the couple divorced in February 2010.

“Lorenzen told me the marriage ended because he didn’t trust Sherra anymore and she felt the same about him … but they were still going to … try to find a way to raise these kids,” said Mike Gipson, another one of Wright’s friends.

“I think what happened to the marriage was that … they grew apart,” Dotson said.

By summer 2010, Wright was living in Atlanta with Gipson, while his ex-wife remained in Memphis with the kids. Yet, Gipson said Wright still had an intimate relationship with his ex-wife. One weekend, Wright flew home to Memphis to attend his daughter's dance recital and his sister's baby shower. He called Dotson and the two arranged to hang out. It was July 19, 2010.

“Completely unexpected, out of the blue … he calls me … and says, ‘Hey bud, I’m in town, let’s hang out,” Dotson said. “So he comes over… We’re kicking back, we’re relaxing, smoking cigars on the patio.”

That evening, Dotson said Wright's ex-wife called him demanding that he bring their son back home "now."

"And he was like, 'OK, all right, fine. I don't want to argue with you,'" Dotson said. "So we drove to the house. ... And when we pull up at the house ... he said, 'I'm going to go in here and I'm going to calm her down, and I'll call you later and then we can go out."

Dotson said that was the last time he saw Wright.

Hours later, just after midnight, a Germantown, Tennessee, 911 operator responded to an incoming call. On the call, a voice could be heard yelling, “God ****" before it was followed by gunshots.

“Hello? Hello?” the dispatcher said over and over again, but the phone remained silent.

The Germantown Police Department, which declined to comment to ABC News for this report, did not follow up on the call. It wasn’t revisited until nine days later while the Memphis Police Department investigated Wright’s disappearance.

At the time, a review by the Germantown Police Department concluded that the dispatchers had properly followed procedures.

Marion, who had reported her son as a missing person, said she became suspicious of his ex-wife. In the days after Wright went missing, she said his ex-wife told her Wright was with “some women.”

“I kept calling him all day and he didn't answer the phone,” said Marion. “This is what I told her… ‘Sherra, where is he? You need to let us know.’ She’s constantly saying about [other] women … he [was] with some women.”

Wright Robinson, however, also claimed to investigators that there was a drug connection. She told investigators she had last seen Wright drive off with an unknown man carrying a box of drugs that she claimed he was trying to sell. She also claimed armed men wearing trench coats had recently come to the home looking for Wright.

Wright was never implicated in any criminal activity.

Nine days after the distressing 911 call, after Memphis police found out about the 911 call, they were able to pinpoint where it was made. This eventually led them to Wright’s remains in a wooded area on a desolate road that he used to take to get to his mother’s house. His body had gunshot wounds.

His mother and friends were in disbelief when they heard the news. It seemed to Gipson that this would be an easy case to solve.

“He’s a celebrity from Memphis, so I thought this would be an open and shut case,” he said. “Never in my life did I think it would take so long [to solve].”

Police ruled the case a homicide and began investigating. Wright Robinson denied any involvement during questioning with police as well as in a local TV news interview. The criminal case turned cold for the next seven years.

Meanwhile, Wright Robinson seemed to move on with her life. But those in Wright’s corner said some of his ex-wife's behavior was unusual.

For one, she was accused of misspending some of the $1 million life insurance policy that was intended for their kids' benefit, which Wright had purchased as a condition of their divorce settlement.

In 2015, five years after the murder, Wright Robinson published “Mr. Tell Me Anything,” a novel that centered around the life of a woman who marries an abusive and unfaithful basketball star. She claimed in an interview that the supposedly fictitious story was based on her real life.

“I just believed it. I was like, ‘She’s baring all,’” said Kelvin Cowans, referring to the book.

Cowans, a journalist, started dating Wright Robinson that same year even though he admits their relationship crossed a professional line. He claims he fell in love with her during an interview about Wright Robinson's life, which included talking about her new book. The pair eventually moved to Houston together with Wright Robinson's kids. Cowans said he was never suspicious of her during their relationship.

“I’m like, 'If she’d done something, they’d have her by now.’ I mean I never would’ve moved away with her if I thought she was a killer,” said Cowans.

Cowans said the relationship eventually fell apart because he couldn’t get past what he described as her obsession with getting money from Wright’s estate.

“[I thought] I cannot believe that your apex of life is still, ‘How much money can I get?’” Cowans said.

After they broke up, Wright Robinson relocated to California with her kids.

Life seemed to continue on until November 2017, when police announced a huge break in the Wright murder investigation: They had found one of the murder weapons -- a gun -- in a lake in Walnut, Mississippi, about 45 minutes away from Wright’s former home.

In court, prosecutors said the break had come from Wright Robinson's cousin, Jimmie Martin. He had been convicted of second-degree murder in an unrelated case that had occurred three years prior to Wright’s death. While he was awaiting sentencing, Martin allegedly started talking to investigators. Prosecutors say he claimed he participated in the planning to kill Wright with Wright Robinson and another man named Billy Ray Turner but that the attempt was foiled.

“Turner was a landscaper, a yardman who happened to be a deacon in a small country church that Sherra attended,” said Memphis journalist Marc Perrusquia.

According to prosecutors, Martin claimed that a few days after Wright’s death, Wright Robinson and Turner confessed to him that they had murdered Wright, and that he then helped them clean up the crime scene.

Martin alleged that a metal detector was used to try to find a gun that had been dropped during the crime, and that he and Turner then drove to the lake in Mississippi where Turner disposed of a gun, according to prosecutors.

Martin has not been charged in connection with Lorenzen Wright’s death. He declined to comment to ABC News for this report.

After the gun announcement, investigators said they started monitoring Wright Robinson’s and Turner’s cell phones, and alleged that they learned incriminating information. Both were arrested and charged in December 2017.

Turner was indicted on first-degree murder charges and pleaded not guilty. When he first appeared in a Shelby County, Tennessee, courtroom on Dec. 5, 2017, Wright’s mother was finally able to see the person allegedly responsible for killing her son.

“When I saw him, I knew instantly [that Wright Robinson] used him because that's not what she want[ed]. You know, he had no money! She don't deal with no grass cutter!” said Marion.

“It was a standard arrest. There was no incidence to it. This person who, for the past 25 years, had not had any sort of troubles,” said John Keith Perry, Turner’s defense attorney. "I absolutely think that he did not do it."

Wright Robinson was charged with first-degree murder, criminal attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. She pleaded not guilty.

When he saw the announcement of her arrest on the news, Cowans was blown away.

“I’m like, I just spent almost … three years of my life with a killer,” he said.

The stage was set for Wright Robinson and Turner to be tried together, but that all changed when Turner was faced with another legal matter.

Turner, a previously convicted felon on unrelated charges that stemmed from a case in the early 1990s, was found in illegal possession of a gun when he was arrested for murder in the Wright case. He pleaded guilty to possessing the firearm.

After they learned about the plea, Wright Robinson’s lawyers worried that Turner would strike a plea deal with prosecutors in the Wright murder case and testify against Wright Robinson. Her lawyer, Juni Ganguli, said, “We told her, if Billy testifies against you, it’s going to be disastrous."

On July 25, 2019, Wright Robinson agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty to the facilitation of first-degree murder. Prosecutors agreed to a lesser sentence of 30 years in prison and parole eligibility, for which she could be released as early as 2026. Had Wright Robinson gone to trial, she faced the prospect of spending the rest of her life in prison.

Prosecutors declined to comment to ABC News for this report.

When Wright Robinson’s plea bargain was announced in court, the judge allowed Marion the chance to speak to her son’s ex-wife.

After close to a decade of pain, Marion turned to face the woman who admitted she had been involved in her son’s murder. At that moment, instead of expressing outrage, Marion said she made the decision to focus on her six grandchildren.

“Ms. Sherra, I want to thank you for giving me my grandchildren, that’s what I want to thank you for,” she said in court. “I want you to unlock them so I can get to them so they can see their grandma, because Sofia keeps calling. She wants to come make chicken and dumplings. But I want you to call them, [and say], 'No it’s OK to talk to grandma, grandma still loves you.' That’s all I want is my grandkids.”

“I just hate what happened to my child,” Marion continued, speaking to Sherra. “But he left nice looking kids here for his grandma. They want to see me like I want to see them. I’m ready for them to come back to the home with their family. Because I miss them.”

Wright Robinson asked if she was allowed to reply, but her lawyers told her it was not a good idea.

“I advised her not to, because at that point, what difference does it make,” said Ganguli.

Although Wright Robinson is now behind bars, Marion still does not have full closure.

Turner was expected to go to trial this month, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed his proceedings. Marion is forced to wait longer for a resolution.

“With Lorenzen, I’d be talking to his picture and sometimes his picture could look at me a certain way like it’s really him… He was a momma’s boy. Simple as that," she said. "He would still be a momma’s boy if he was here now."

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33ft/iStockBy BEN GITTLESON and JOSH MARGOLIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- As President Donald Trump pushed the Big Ten in recent weeks to restart college football amid the coronavirus pandemic, the White House offered to provide the college athletic conference with enough COVID-19 tests for play to begin, a university official briefed on the matter and a senior Trump administration official said.

The Big Ten ultimately sourced the tests from a private company instead, the officials said.

The conference announced Wednesday its football season -- on hold due to the outbreak -- would resume on Oct. 23. It said it would utilize "stringent medical protocols," including daily testing of its student-athletes and coaches.

Trump had since last month been publicly insisting the Big Ten kick off its football season, and he spoke with the conference's commissioner, Kevin Warren, on Sept. 1, about the matter.

"I called the commissioner a couple of weeks ago, and we started putting a lot of pressure on, frankly, because there was no reason for it not to come back," Trump told reporters Wednesday.

After that call, Trump directed White House staff to provide any federal resources the conference needed, according to the senior administration official.

The Big Ten's ability to secure coronavirus tests was "key," although ultimately the conference found another source for them, the official said.

"Probably for political reasons, it was easy for the Big Ten to convince their presidents to vote for it, if it wasn't going to be provided by this White House," the official said.

Trump has for months called for the return of professional and college sports, many of which had been put on hold. He has pushed for states and schools to lift coronavirus-related restrictions despite the continued high rate of virus transmission in certain parts of the country; his own presidential campaign has ignored local restrictions on crowd sizes, mask-wearing and social distancing.

Many leagues have recently resumed play with safety protocols restrictions and limits on spectators. They have had varying degrees of success in responding to athletes who have fallen ill with the virus.

The Big Ten said Wednesday that athletes, coaches, trainers and others who go on the field would get tested daily and that athletes who receive a positive result would receive a second test to confirm the result.

If both tests were positive, the athlete would have to undergo cardiac testing and receive clearance from a cardiologist before they could return to competition -- at the earliest 21 days after his initial diagnosis.

Trump's interest in the Big Ten was spurred by calls from players and their parents for the season to resume, the senior administration official said.

The official said the White House had made hundreds of calls on the topic with Big Ten coaches, officials, athletic directors, parents and players.

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iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Washington 4, Tampa Bay 2
Oakland 3, Colorado 1
Baltimore 5, Atlanta 1
Miami 8, Boston 4
Chi Cubs 3, Cleveland 2
Arizona 9, LA Angels 6
San Francisco 9, Seattle 3
San Francisco at Seattle (Postponed)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Kansas City 4, Detroit 0
N.Y Yankees 13, Toronto 2
Texas 1, Houston 0
Minnesota 5, Chi White Sox 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis 4, Milwaukee 2
LA Dodgers 7, San Diego 5
Cincinnati 1, Pittsburgh 0
Milwaukee 6, St. Louis 0
NY Mets 5, Philadelphia 4

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
FC Dallas 4, Colorado 1
Vancouver 3, Montreal 1
Portland 1, San Jose 1 (Tie)
Miami at New York City FC (Canceled)
Colorado at Nashville (Canceled)
Los Angeles FC at Houston (Canceled)
San Jose at Seattle (Canceled)

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