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Hot Button: MAC cancels football season … Guice arrested, cut by Washington … Kay charged in Skaggs death

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hot Button is a 'round-the-clock feature that covers anything across the scope of sports. We're here to bring you everything hot: news items, highlights, takes — everything but hot meals — whether local, national or international. Better yet, it’s interactive. Share your thoughts in comments, and even post your own links to interesting, safe-for-work sports stories.

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📌 MAC FIRST FBS CONFERENCE TO CANCEL

Saturday, August 8: The Mid-American Conference voted Saturday to cancel all fall sports due to coronavirus safety concerns, making them the first Football Bowls Series conference to cancel the 2020 season.

The conference cited the lack of game day revenues from ticket sales, concessions and related services necessary to fund and enforce the coronavirus safety protocols required to keep the players safe.

This decision directly affects Pitt as the University of Miami (Ohio), Ben Roethlisberger's alma mater, was the first scheduled game for the Panthers this season on September 12. The other MAC member schools are Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Ohio University, Toledo, Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Northern Illinois. — Bob

GUICE ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Friday, August 7: Running back Derrius Guice was cut by the Washington Football Team just hours after his arrest for domestic violence charges Friday, after three alleged incidents from February to April were investigated by police in Virginia.

Guice was formally charged with four counts: one count strangulation and three counts of assault and battery. He turned himself in to authorities when notified of the charges.

Guice was about to enter his second NFL season. Projected as a first-round pick, he was drafted by Washington in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft after his draft stock fell due to character issues. Guice tore his ACL and missed the 2018 season. He played just five games in 2019, suffering a torn meniscus. — Bob

KAY FACES DRUG CHARGES IN SKAGGS DEATH

Friday, August 7: The Drug Enforcement Agency has charged Eric Kay, the former Angels director of communications, with multiple drug charges related to an investigation into the accidental drug overdose death last season of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

According to an ESPN report, "Kay has been charged with illegal possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, a controlled substance." An independent internal Angels investigation following Skaggs' death showed the organization and no knowledge of Kay's illegal drug-related activities or his relationship to any players, including Skaggs — Bob

ORGANIST TROLLS BLUE JAYS' MCGUIRE

Friday, August 7: Tip of the cap to the Braves organist or whoever is piping in music at Atlanta's Truist Park for trolling Blue Jays catcher and former Pirates prospect Reese McGuire by playing Michael Jackson's "Beat It" as McGuire approached the plate. McGuire, as many might remember, was arrested in February for exposure of sexual organs, when he was caught masturbating in his vehicle at a Dunedin, Fla. strip mall.

Top marks to the Braves. McGuire is off to a slow start this season, slashing .167/.167/.417 in five games. There is no truth to any rumor he is nursing a hand injury. — Bob

GIANTS CORNER CHARGED IN ARMED ROBBERY

Friday, August 7: Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker has officially been charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm, stemming from an incident at a party in Miramar, Fla. on May 13, when Baker and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar allegedly robbed four people of their possessions using a gun. Dunbar is not being charged in the incident due to insufficient evidence.

Though no formal charges were filed against Dunbar, he may still face discipline from the National Football League.

At the time of this post, there has been no statement by the NFL, Giants or Seahawks regarding Friday's events. — Bob

MARKAKIS DELIVERS IN RETURN

Friday, August 7: Braves outfielder Nick Markakis wasted no time making an impact in his first game after opting back into the 2020 season, walking the Braves off with a home run in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night to beat the Blue Jays, 4-3.

Timing is everything. — Bob

A's COACH CALLS NAZI SALUTE UNINTENTIONAL

Friday, August 7: Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson caused quite a stir Thursday when he appeared to twice give what looked like a Nazi salute during the "air five' line at the end of the A's 6-4 win over the Rangers Thursday.

Christenson claims he was unaware of a problem until he was contacted by A's general manager David Forst. Christenson then addressed the issue with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, saying "Obviously I wasn’t doing that intentionally. I just blacked out, my mind wasn’t there and I spaced out. I'm sure it looks terrible. I did it but it was not intentional. I don’t know what more to say."

The A's quickly issued a statement which included a formal apology from Christenson and a team condemnation of Christenson's actions:

Christenson's right, it looks terrible. Pretty sure his troubles with the A's aren't over. — Bob
WILSON DOING WILSON THINGS

Thursday, August 6: Capitals forward Tom Wilson boarded Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov in the first period of their round-robin playoff seeding game Thursday:

Provorov was uninjured and Wilson received a two-minute minor for the hit. The Flyers currently lead the game 1-0 entering the second period.

Just wanted to show that there are some constants in 2020. — Bob

67 NFL PLAYERS OFFICIALLY OPT OUT

Thursday, August 6: The National Football League's voluntary opt-out deadline passed Thursday at 4 p.m. In total there are 67 players who have officially opted out, though none Thursday. The complete list is here.

29 teams had players opt out, led by the Patriots with eight players on the list. The Browns were second with five opt-outs (OL Colby Gossett, G Drew Forbes, T Drake Dorbeck, DT Andrew Billings, G Malcolm Pridgeon). The Steelers were the only AFC Central team to not have a player on the list — besides the Browns, the Bengals (DT Josh Tupou, OT Isaiah Prince) and Ravens (returner De'Anthony Thomas, OL Andre Smith) had two players each. Dale Lolley has the site's full coverage of the Steelers and the opt-out deadline here.

Players can still opt out of the season but must now meet strict requirements to do so — primarily being diagnosed with COVID-19, getting diagnosed with a risk category condition, or having a family member get sick or require assistance. — Bob

CLEMSON LEADS COACHES POLL

Thursday, August 6: Penn State came in at No. 7 in the USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll released Thursday.

Clemson was the No.1 team — no surprise — while Ohio State was ranked No. 2. The balance of the Top 10 is: No. 3 Alabama; No. 4 Georgia; No. 5 LSU; No. 6 Oklahoma; No. 8 Florida; No. 9 Oregon; No. 10 Notre Dame.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with six teams ranked (Ohio State, Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 15 Michigan, No. 18 Minnesota, No. 23 Iowa), followed by the SEC and the Big 12 with five each.

The ACC has four schools ranked, as Notre Dame is included in the ACC schedule for 2020, and Pitt has games against three of them: Oct. 24 vs. Notre Dame; Nov. 21 at No. 24 Virginia Tech; Nov. 28 at Clemson. — Bob

MUZZIN OUT OF HOSPITAL, WON'T PLAY

Wednesday, August 5: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin was released from the hospital but will miss the rest of the Leafs' playoff series against the Blue Jackets. Muzzin was injured with just under two minutes remaining in the Leafs' 3-0 victory in Game 2 of the playoff series when Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois crosschecked Muzzin up high behind the Toronto goal. Muzzin went to the ice and was unable to regain his balance before his head went into the leg of Columbus forward Oliver Bjorkstrand.

He laid on the ice for several moments and was eventually removed on a stretcher, showing mobility in his limbs. Dubois was not penalized. The Maple Leafs are restricted from disclosing the nature of Muzzin's injury due to the National Hockey League's Return to Play protocols. Muzzin will remain in the Toronto bubble-city quarantine until he can return to action.

The best-of-five series resumes Thursday, tied at one game apiece. — Bob

PARSONS WILL OPT OUT OF PSU SEASON

Wednesday, August 5: According to sources, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons will announce Wednesday or Thursday he is opting out of the team's 2020 season and will declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Parsons, 21, was First Team All-American and All-Big Ten in 2019 as a sophomore, making 109 tackles (14 for a loss) with five sacks for the Nittany Lions. He is widely regarded as a potential top-10 pick in the NFL Draft, and is a consensus first-rounder.

You can't teach Parsons' athleticism. I wouldn't expect his opt-out to affect his draft standing. — Bob

BIG 10 OPENS SEASON SEPTEMBER 3

Wednesday, August 5: The Big Ten Conference released a ten-game, conference-only football schedule Wednesday, with the season starting September 3.

Each team is given two bye weeks during the season and Week 13 is a bye week for the entire conference before the conference championship game on December 5 — the several bye weeks allow for potentially postponed games to be played. The conference championship can also be moved out two weeks to accommodate make-up games.

Penn State's schedule (home in CAPS):

Sept. 5: NORTHWESTERN
Sept. 12: at Indiana
Sept. 19: at Michigan
Sept. 26: MICHIGAN STATE
Oct. 3: at Rutgers
Oct. 10: Bye
Oct. 17: MARYLAND
Oct. 24: IOWA
Oct. 31: at Nebraska
Nov. 7: OHIO STATE
Nov. 14: Bye
Nov. 21: at Illinois
Nov. 28: Bye

Seems the conference put a lot of thought into ways to complete the season. Here's hoping it goes off without a hitch. — Bob

UCONN FIRST FBS TEAM TO CANCEL SEASON

Wednesday, August 5: The University of Connecticut became the first NCAA Football Bowl Series team to cancel its 2020 season due to coronavirus safety concerns.

The student-athletes will not lose any eligibility and will be enrolled as full-time students for 2020-21.

UConn joined the Big East Conference for football in July. Conference officials have yet to release a statement in response to UConn's decision and its effect on the rest of the conference teams.

MARLINS RETURN IN BALTIMORE

Tuesday, August 4: The Marlins are returning to action Tuesday night against the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, nine days after the team suspended play on July 27 after 18 players and three traveling staff members tested positive for coronavirus following a series in against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Here are the latest restore updates for the Marlins:

Tuesday's game was thrown into doubt earlier in the day when several Marlins players' coronavirus tests returned "inconclusive" results. However, retests on all the players in question came back negative and the game was allowed to proceed. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m. — Bob

UPDATE: The makeshift Marlins defeated the Orioles, 4-0. Pirates fans aren't the only ones who suffer. — Bob

LIONS REMOVE STAFFORD FROM COVID LIST

Tuesday, August 4: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was removed for the teams reserve/COVID list Tuesday after it was determined that he received a false positive coronavirus test result on July 31.

Between this and the inconclusive results from Marlins players on Tuesday that were negative on retests, it could make one question the overall reliability of the testing. — Bob

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