CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The sponsor of a halftime basketball shooting promotion at Northern Iowa games has reversed course in the face of growing criticism and will now pay out the full $10,000 to a contestant who competed earlier this week.
A public outcry had been swelling since the Wednesday night contest, when Northern Iowa student Dalton Hinsch made a layup, a free throw and two long shots as part of the timed contest. Hinsch made the last shot from half-court just as an announcer counted down the last seconds, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Officials later declared Hinsch hadn’t gotten the last shot off in 24 seconds, as required by contest rules. By Thursday, UNI announced via Twitter that the sponsor would give Hinsch a consolation prize of $2,000, a free trip to the Arch Madness basketball tournament and apparel, drawing increasing criticism online.
On Friday, the university’s athletic department announced Hinsch would receive the full $10,000 prize, along with the package — including tickets and a hotel room — to watch the Panthers play next month at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis, the Des Moines Register reported.
Obama part of NBA All-Star festivitites
CHICAGO — Zion Williamson and Trae Young are used to meeting fans who are typically a bit nervous during those interactions. This was different. This time, they were nervous to meet the fan.
Former President Barack Obama — a huge basketball fan, officially the game’s First Fan during his eight years in office — made an unannounced appearance Friday at an NBA Cares event during All-Star weekend in his hometown of Chicago with several of the league’s top rookies, second-year players and coaches. The event was for volunteers to fill several backpacks with school supplies, and that work predictably stopped when Obama walked into the room.
Hader loses arbitration vs. Brewers
PHOENIX — All-Star closer Josh Hader lost his salary arbitration case against the Milwaukee Brewers, dropping players to 1-6 in hearings this year.
Hader will earn $4.1 million rather than his $6.4 million request. Arbitrators Mark Burstein, Dan Brent and Frederic Horowitz made the decision Friday, a day after hearing arguments. A shaggy-haired left-hander who turns 26 in April, Hader had 37 saves in 44 chances and went 3-5 with a 2.62 ERA in his second straight All-Star season.
MLB raising minimum minor league salary
NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is raising the minimum salary for minor league players in 2021, according to a memo sent Friday from the commissioner’s office to all 30 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.
Two years after successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB opted to give those players a wage increase between 38% and 72%. The bump was discussed at last week’s owners meetings and confirmed in the memo from Morgan Sword, executive vice president of baseball economics and operations.
Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised from $290 to $400, and players at Class A will go from $290 to $500. Double-A will jump from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700.
Indians’ Clevinger undergoes surgery
CLEVELAND — The Indians are already dealing with adversity before taking the field for their first full-squad workout. Starter Mike Clevinger was undergoing surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee after the right-hander hurt it while working out at the team’s training complex in Goodyear, Ariz. The Indians won’t have a timetable for Clevinger’s return until after the operation, but it’s safe to assume he will miss at least several weeks.
Zoo names baby giraffe for Heisman winner
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University’s Hesiman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow has a new honor to add to his long list of awards and achievements. He inspired the name of the newest male giraffe at Louisiana’s capital city zoo.
A public naming competition selected the name Burreaux — a Cajun-inspired spelling of Burrow’s last name — for the giraffe calf born Dec. 26.
The Baton Rouge Zoo announced the selection Friday, saying the public chose the winning name from three options: Romeo, Burreaux and Kiume, a Swahili word meaning masculine and strong.
Chiefs to host camp at Missouri Western
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a three-year deal with Missouri Western State University to host their training camp, keeping the Super Bowl champions as one of the last NFL teams to take their late-summer workouts on the road.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan said Friday that the contract, which includes an option to extend the partnership two more years, includes several provisions requiring updates to the Division II school. Missouri Western will develop new seating at the practice fields and renovate Scanlon Hall, the building that houses Chiefs players, coaches and staff.
Kuchar leads by 2 at Riviera
LOS ANGELES — Matt Kuchar made a mess of the easiest hole at Riviera. He couldn’t find the fairway and felt he was on the defensive all afternoon Friday in the Genesis Invitational. He was good enough with the short irons that Kuchar still managed a 2-under 69 and built a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and two others going into the weekend at Riviera.
Bouwmeester fitted for defibrillator
Jay Bouwmeester had surgery Friday to insert a defibrillator to restore his heart’s normal rhythm after the St. Louis Blues defenseman collapsed on the bench during a game in Anaheim this week. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said the procedure was performed at the UC Irvine Medical Center. The 36-year-old Bouwmeester will be monitored by a team of specialists at the hospital until he is cleared to return to St. Louis.