The Latest: Big East to hold conference-only games this fall

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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The Big East Conference has joined several other leagues in deciding to play only conference opponents during the fall sports season, if it’s able to play at all.

The basketball-focused conference announced the decision Thursday. The Big East still hasn’t decided whether it will conduct a fall season and championships.

The league said in the coming weeks, it will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions across the country and in Big East communities and will provide further updates on dates and formats “as appropriate.” All decisions regarding fall conference competition will be guided by health and safety concerns and will be made in accordance with NCAA actions and policies.

The sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross-country, volleyball and field hockey. The Big East’s plans for the 2020-21 winter and spring sports seasons remain unaffected at this time.

The Big East’s members, located in eight of the country’s top 36 largest media markets, are Butler, Connecticut, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier.

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The American Athletic Conference will require all its schools to test football players for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before competition.

The announcement Thursday by the American comes ahead of the expected release of recommendations from the NCAA.

The Power Five conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – have been working toward a minimum standard for testing throughout major college football. Though the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced last week that they would play only conference games this football season to help minimize potential disruptions caused by COVID-19, other FBS conferences have not yet decided on scheduling formats for the coming season, which appears to be in peril because of the surging pandemic.

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco says the testing protocols will apply throughout the regular and bowl seasons. More operational protocols are still being finalized, as are testing protocols for other sports.

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A top-division Russian soccer game has been called off after nine people at FC Sochi tested positive for the virus.

The Russian Premier League says Sochi’s game against Tambov will not take place as scheduled on Thursday. The league hasn’t said how many of the nine are players.

There was no mention of whether the game could be rescheduled. The league is scheduled to finish its season next Wednesday.

Sochi last month won a game 10-1 against FC Rostov after a virus outbreak forced Rostov to send a team of youth and academy players.

Another club, FC Orenburg, forfeited two games following an outbreak at the club and has since been relegated.

Another game was postponed last month after three virus cases among Dynamo Moscow players.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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