Notre Dame’s football program is on NCAA probation until next January after admitting to recruiting violations in 2019 in which a now-former unnamed assistant had an impermissible in-person meeting with one prospect and sent impermissible text messages to another. The NCAA announced the negotiated resolution Thursday after it was reviewed by the Division I Committee on Infractions. Head coach Brian Kelly also was found to have had impermissible off-campus contact with a prospect when he had his picture taken with the prospect at his high school. The number of official recruiting visits Notre Dame can host in 2020-21 will be reduced by one, from 56 to 55, and there will be 14 days when prospects won’t be allowed to make unofficial visits. The Irish also will impose a seven-day off-campus recruiting ban for the entire staff this spring. Probation started Thursday, and the school also will pay a $5,000 fine … National football champion Alabama hired former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to replace Steve Sarkisian, who left to become coach of the Texas Longhorns.
UConn women top Tennessee
Evina Westbrook, who transferred from host Tennessee to UConn two years ago, connected on back-to-back fourth-quarter 3-pointers to spark the No. 3 Huskies (9-0) to a 67-61 victory over the No. 25 Lady Volunteers (9-3) in women’s college basketball … The deficit in the University of Connecticut’s athletic department rose by $1.2 million during the last fiscal year to $43.5 million, according to the school’s annual report to the NCAA released Wednesday. Revenue from men’s basketball fell from $6 million to $5 million, women’s basketball revenue dropped from $4.5 million to $4 million, and football revenue fell from $3.3 million to $2.3 million.
McIlroy leads Abu Dhabi
Rory McIlroy shot an 8-under-par 64 in the first round of the season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship in the United Arab Emirates for a one-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton. McIlroy shrugged off a fog delay of almost three hours to start the year with eight birdies. Hatton made a spectacular start with an eagle on the 10th, his opening hole, and also eagled the par-five 18th. Defending champion Lee Westwood is five shots off the lead. Justin Thomas (73) struggled in his first event since Ralph Lauren ended its sponsorship deal with him following a homophobic slur he muttered to himself after missing a putt two weeks ago in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii …Brandon Hagy took the first-round lead with an 8-under 64 in La Quinta, Calif., staying one shot ahead of South Korea’s Byeong Hun An at The American Express, the opening tournament of the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing… Danielle Kang opened the year with a bogey-free, 7-under 64 for a one-shot lead over sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda, along with defending champion Gaby Lopez, at winners-only Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Burley ends Liverpool’s home streak
Liverpool’s 68-match home unbeaten streak at Anfield in the English Premier League ended with a 1-0 loss to Burnley. Ashley Barnes scored from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute after the forward was brought down by goalkeeper Alisson Becker as Burnley became the first team to win in the league at Anfield since April 2017 … The New England Revolution picked two players from the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, going with University of Pittsburgh forward Edward Kizza (24th overall) in the first round, and following with Manhattan College defender Francois Dulysse (51st overall) in the second round. New England passed with its 78th overall selection in the third round … FIFA dealt a blow to hopes for a new European ‘Super League’, warning players that entering the new competition would bar them from playing in some of the most prestigious competitions, such as the World Cup. The red flag from FIFA comes after recent reports that top European soccer teams were homing in on a new ‘Super League’, which organizers are hoping will include the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus. The Super League has instructed JPMorgan Chase & Co. to assemble the debt finance for the project.
Capitals’ Samsonov has coronavirus
Washington Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov has tested positive for coronavirus, according to two people with knowledge with the situation. The team received news of Samsonov’s positive test Tuesday night, after a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Samsonov, who did not play Tuesday, immediately went into isolation and is following the league’s coronavirus guidelines. Samsonov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov will miss at least the next four games because of coronavirus protocols. . Samsonov stayed in Pittsburgh while the rest of the team flew back to Washington, but has since returned to the D.C. area … Catcher Jason Castro agreed to a $7 million, two-year contract with the Houston Astros, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. The agreement is pending completion of a successful physical … Lindsey Vonn, the winningest woman in World Cup ski history, is scheduled to help out with the NBC Sports broadcast of the women’s downhill and super-G races in Crans Montana, Switzerland, this weekend. Vonn will make her on-air debut as an analyst alongside commentator Dan Hicks.