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Sports in brief

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WNBA again tops hiring for diversity

ORLANDO — The WNBA kept its standing among pro sports leagues as the leader in racial and gender hiring.

According to an annual report released Tuesday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at UCF, the league received an A-plus in race and gender hiring. It marks the 11th consecutive year the WNBA has had at least an A grade in each category.

Reports are also issued on the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS and college sports.

Report author Richard Lapchick said progress in diversifying team ownership is welcome.

"It's the one area where there has not been great progress, so any positive motion will be a good signal to other leagues," he said. "The WNBA is doing that and the NBA is the only league with two (majority) owners of color. It's not a big number, but it's two more than where we were five years ago."

Soccer

FIFA audit head criticizes Blatter

The first public indication from within FIFA about the weight of the case against Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini came from its financial compliance head, who denounced a payment that led to the sport's leaders being suspended as a "classic conflict of interest." Blatter, the FIFA president, could also be culpable for the alleged "falsification" of accounts over the payment of about $2 million to UEFA president Platini, according to Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee.

Americans tie: The U.S. under-17 national team, which has a full-time residency program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, tied Croatia 2-2 at the U-17 World Cup in Vina Del Mar, Chile. Christian Pulisic and Brandon Vazquez scored for the Americans, who have one point through two games in Group A.

NWSL: A team in Orlando will join the women's league as its 10th member next season. The Orlando Pride, led by former U.S. women's national team coach Tom Sermanni, is owned by the same group that owns Orlando City SC of MLS.

Autos

Pigot racing here in IndyCar event

Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot, 22, landed an IndyCar ride for next year's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500, plus at least one other race, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The program for Pigot, a native Californian residing in Orlando, is funded by Bradenton-based Andersen Promotions, which operates Indy Lights and the two lower rungs on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

NASCAR: The series will make just one attempt to finish races under green this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. There are usually three tries at a green-white-checkered finish, but NASCAR seeks to cut the chance of accidents in Sunday's Sprint Cup and Saturday's truck series races. July's race at Daytona was marred by a last-lap crash that sent Austin Dillon's car sailing into the fence.

Et cetera

Tennis: American John Isner relied on his strong serve to beat qualifier Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) in the first round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Isner had 16 aces.

Times wires

Sports in brief 10/20/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 10:07pm]
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  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.