Capitals

Spurrier gets 2-year extension at South Carolina

Spurrier gets 2-year extension at South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Steve Spurrier has received a two-year contract extension that will keep him at South Carolina through 2017.

The university's board of trustees unanimously approved the extension Monday. There was no salary increase in the deal. Spurrier is scheduled to again earn $3.3 million in 2013.

A year ago, trustees gave Spurrier two additional years on the contract after the football season, then voted him a raise of $475,000 this past February to his current salary.

Spurrier has led the Gamecocks to consecutive seasons with double-digit victories, a first in program history. No. 11 South Carolina finished 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference for a second straight year. Spurrier became the school's all-time victories leader with his 65th win when the Gamecocks defeated Clemson on Nov. 24.

South Carolina (10-2) faces No. 19 Michigan (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Should the Gamecocks win, it would give Spurrier his third bowl win at the school - also tops in the program.

University President Harris Pastides said South Carolina was ``delighted in the success we've been having.''

Athletic director Ray Tanner said Spurrier wasn't concerned about his financial package, but thought adding two more years would help with football recruiting.

Spurrier was grateful to the school's leaders for the contract extension.

``We have achieved a lot of goals, but we have not yet won the SEC championship,'' he said. ``Hopefully, we can do that within the next couple of years.''

The Gamecocks looked on track to contend for the league and national titles midway through this season. They were 6-0 and ranked third in the country after a dominating 35-7 win over Georgia.

But South Carolina dropped consecutive top-10 showdowns, losing at LSU (23-21) and Florida (44-11) to fall out of the championship chase.

Still, defeating rival Clemson for a fourth-straight season left a good taste in Spurrier's mouth. He and some players were honored Sunday at halftime of the Gamecocks' basketball game and Spurrier couldn't resist needling his state rival.

He explained to the crowd how his team had a difficult game with ``that school from the Upstate.''

``As all of you know, it was a very close game,'' Spurrier continued with a grin. ``Went into the fourth quarter, our defense played very well, our kicker made his kicks and we were able to beat Wofford, 24-7.''

Incentives in Spurrier's contract also remain the same as in the contract approved last February. In that deal, the school agreed to add the Outback Bowl to the list of other top-tier postseason games where Spurrier would earn $100,000 bonus for playing there.

Spurrier has already earned bonuses totaling $150,000 for 10 victories. He can get an additional $200,000 for an 11th win.

Tanner said Spurrier has elevated the football program in every way and ``is well deserving of this contract extension.''

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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