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Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide.The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly 29 points at 30-1 odds.Kornegay couldn’t believe it, but took the man’s money — and later returned it plus the winnings. The bet cashed when the Panthers scored that amount in a three-point loss to the New England Patriots.The Super Bowl draws a larger portion of casual bettors than other American sporting events, and the numerous proposition options each year underscore how the game’s mass appeal goes well beyond professional gamblers and hardcore fans.“We’re certainly going to write a lot more tickets on the propositions than the game,” said Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at Westgate Las Vegas. “They’ve become so popular.”This year’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles is Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the first time the championship will be played inside a venue with a sportsbook.Next year’s Super Bowl will be in Las Vegas, the nation’s sports betting capital.Sportsbooks have taken advantage of the increasing popularity of prop bets, which could range from whether there will be a safety to whether the Chiefs or Eagles will score more points than LeBron James or Steph Curry when their teams meet the day before the big game. Most props will be made available next week, but Caesars Sportsbook already has its 2,000-option menu available. Among the choices is whether the first turnover will be an interception or fumble. The interception is minus-170, meaning someone would need to bet $170 to win $100. The fumble is listed at plus-140, which means a $100 bet would pay $140.Jason Scott, BetMGM vice president of trading, said he expects to put out 700 or 800 such bets by next week for its properties in 20 states plus Washington, D.C. Kornegay said Westgate will have about 500 bets with roughly 1,000 options. Jeff Benson, Circa Sports operations manager, said his casino’s booklet will be 12 or 13 pages front and back.“I think you have a ton of people that want just to bet the props,” Benson said. “They don’t really care who wins. That’s really a way for them to enjoy the game.” The number of bets on props is considerably higher than traditional wagers such as which team will cover the point spread and whether the total number of points with be higher or lower than the posted figure. The Eagles are 1 1/2-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, and the total is 50 1/2 points.Kornegay estimated that for every traditional Super Bowl bet, there are six or seven prop wagers.Scott said that while some of the more unusual prop bets draw much of the attention, more than 99% of the money tends to go to about 30 high-profile bets such as which player will score the first touchdown.The popularity of props is a fairly recent phenomenon.Caesars is believed to have published the first prop bet when it posted at 20-1 odds that defensive lineman and goal-line running back William “the Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown for the Chicago Bears in the 1986 Super Bowl. The odds plummeted to 2-1 by kickoff, and Perry rewarded bettors by reaching the end zone late in the third quarter.That Super Bowl was the second of a 13-game winning streak for the NFC in the title game, many of them blowouts. Kornegay was at the now-closed Imperial Palace at the time, and he wanted to find a new way to attract bettors and keep their interest throughout the one-sided games.Before the 1995 championship between the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, prop bets were still limited, so Kornegay and his team decided to change that. They developed about 150 prop bets for the anticipated blowout that became a 49-26 victory by the 49ers.“It stirred up quite a bit of interest,” Kornegay said. “And ever since then, the propositions have been part of the Super Bowl weekend.”The games have usually been much closer since the turn of the century, many coming down to the final minutes.Professional sports bettors tend to make the more traditional wagers and look for value in the props if they believe they can find a betting number to exploit. For the most part, the props belong to the general public.And with the lack of betting experience come some unusual choices.Kornegay said a bettor drove to Las Vegas from California unsure of what to do with $50,000. He put is all on the coin toss.And it came in.In the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory over the 49ers three years ago, Benson said someone correctly bet the exact score for each team.“It didn’t turn out great for us,” Benson said. “It turned out awfully good for him. But obviously in this business, you definitely see some longshots hit once you book enough Super Bowls.”___AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Misdemeanor menacing charge against Bengals RB Joe Mixon dismissed

Misdemeanor menacing charge against Bengals RB Joe Mixon dismissed

A misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing against Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was dismissed Friday, according to multiple reports. The dismissal comes one day after county officials authorized a warrant for Mixon stemming from an incident that occurred on Jan. 21, the day before the Bengals beat the Buffalo Bills in a divisional-round playoff […]

Kyrie Irving reportedly requests trade from Nets, interested in Lakers

Kyrie Irving reportedly requests trade from Nets, interested in Lakers

Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn. The All-Star point guard has requested a trade and has informed the Nets that he wants to be moved ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline or he’ll leave in free agency in the upcoming offseason, The Athletic reported Friday.  Irving was reportedly asking for a contract extension as […]

Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies

Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — A contest that could define the 2024 Paris Olympics is playing out 18 months before medals are awarded. It’s giving the International Olympic Committee a political challenge with echoes of the 1980s.Ukraine fired up its campaign on Friday to have Russia and military ally Belarus excluded from the next Summer Games with talk in Kyiv of a boycott and support from sympathetic governments in the Baltics and elsewhere in Europe.The IOC responded in a statement that “it is regretful that politicians are misusing athletes and sport as tools to achieve their political objectives.”Pushback has been fierce in the 10 days since the IOC set out its preferred path for Russian and Belarusian athletes who do not actively support the war to try to qualify for Paris as neutrals.By citing human rights arguments — that no athlete should face discrimination just for the passport they hold — the IOC has seemed ready to punish the protesting parties rather than the aggressors in the war.The IOC has pointed to its own rules and Olympic history to make its case.OLYMPIC CHARTERIt is the document of rules that “governs the organization, action and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games.”It does say that each of 206 national Olympic committees (NOCs) is obliged to participate in the Olympic Games by sending athletes.What it does not say is any kind of clear framework for acting against Russia and Belarus in the current situation.“There is nothing in the Olympic Charter saying if a government starts a war that is opposed by the U.N. then the NOC has to be suspended,” said Sylvia Schenk, a lawyer and sports governance expert from Germany who advises the IOC on human rights.OLYMPIC BOYCOTTSAny NOC can choose to boycott an Olympics on a point of honestly held principle — knowing that in Lausanne the act will not easily be forgotten or forgiven.No team has boycotted the Olympics since North Korea snubbed the neighboring South for the 1988 Seoul Summer Games.That closed a different period in Olympic history after significant boycotts at each Summer Games from 1976 through 1984.A swath of African countries stayed away from Montreal in 1976 because New Zealand would be there soon after its iconic rugby team toured South Africa.The United States led the largest boycott in 1980. More than 60 teams refused to go to Moscow after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. IOC president Thomas Bach was among the West Germany athletes who could not go, denying him the chance to defend the team fencing title.Payback four years later saw the Los Angeles Olympics snubbed by the Soviet Union and Eastern European allies.The boycott era almost fatally damaged the Olympic brand and is seared on the memory of Bach who has presided over an era of continued commercial success.OLYMPIC BANSMost famously, South Africa was banned by the IOC from competing at any Olympics from 1964-88 because of its apartheid system of racial discrimination laws. Critics of the IOC’s current stance on Russia point to the South African case. The IOC’s counter point is that South Africa was under U.N. sanctions and Russia currently is not. Russia is a U.N. Security Council member and can veto proposed resolutions.North Korea was excluded from the Beijing Winter Games held one year ago as punishment for not sending a team to the Tokyo Summer Games in July 2021. North Korea claimed it was protecting athletes from the COVID-19 pandemic.Bach said in September 2021 when issuing the ban that taking part in the Olympics can “show to the world how it could look like if everybody would respect the same rules, if everybody would live together peacefully without any kind of discrimination.”Afghanistan could be banned from Paris next year for denying women and girls the right to play sport. The Charter says “every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination.”The IOC was urged by the World Anti-Doping Agency to issue a blanket ban on Russia less than a month before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.A hectic lead-in to those Olympics saw WADA-appointed investigator Richard McLaren detail the Russian state-backed doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.After the IOC pledged to explore legal options, it instead asked governing bodies of individual Olympic sports to decide within days how, and which, Russian athletes could be eligible for Rio. A flurry of appeals went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.A similar scenario of legal uncertainty could play out before Russians and Belarusians compete in Paris, sports law academic Antoine Duval cautioned on Friday.“It would be very political and very ad hoc, and with different types of approaches to the issue,” Duval told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.NEUTRAL STATUSThe IOC’s suggested option of Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in Paris as neutral athletes without their flag, anthem or national team name has precedent.It’s how individual Yugoslavians, but not teams, could compete as independent athletes at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics during the civil war in the Balkans. U.N. sanctions were in force then.Kuwait competed as independent athletes under the Olympic flag in 2016 because of a relatively trivial issue of a government-backed sports law that was unacceptable to the IOC.Fallout from the Russian doping scandal has meant teams at the past three Olympics starting in 2018 competed under supposedly neutral names — Olympic Athlete from Russia, and ROC (for Russian Olympic Committee) — without flag and anthem.Dressed in distinctively Russian colors of red, white and blue, however, it was a compromise unsatisfactory to many. Any Russians competing in Paris will likely be dressed in genuinely neutral colors.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports___Follow AP’s coverage of the runup to the Paris 2024 Olympics at https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

NBA Roundtable: What will scoring record mean for LeBron’s legacy?

NBA Roundtable: What will scoring record mean for LeBron’s legacy?

LeBron James is on the brink of making NBA history.James is just 63 points from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. With James likely to break the record in the coming days, our panel of NBA reporters — Ric Bucher, Yaron Weitzman and Melissa Rohlin — take a look at what breaking the record will mean for James’ legacy.1. What is the most impressive accomplishment in LeBron James’ career? Will it be the all-time scoring record or something else?Bucher: The all-time scoring title is muddied by the fact that the rules have been shifted so heavily to favor offense, and the 3-point shot wasn’t what it is now when Kareem and everyone else in the top 10 played. His signature achievement, as I see, it was winning a championship in Cleveland, something that simply does not happen in that town in any sport. I’d say winning championships with three different franchises is next. His most impressive achievement is going to 10 NBA Finals, including eight in a row. He couldn’t have done it if he’d stayed in one place, but his ability to maneuver his way from Cleveland to Miami and back again, and convince management to put what he needed around him — well, I don’t see anybody else in the modern game who could’ve done all that. ADVERTISEMENT Weitzman: To me, the scoring record is more of a result of what LeBron’s greatest accomplishment is, and the thing that I think he should — and will — be most known for: his longevity. What he’s doing, at the age of 38, and in Year 20, and with all those miles on his legs, is ridiculous. He’s playing at an MVP-level, and if the talent surrounding him wasn’t so poor, he’d be in that MVP conversation. Rohlin: Well, according to James himself, it was when he led the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 series deficit during the 2016 NBA Finals to beat the Golden State Warriors, becoming the only team in league history to come back from that kind of a hole in the championship round. After that unbelievable achievement, James said during an episode of ESPN’s More Than An Athlete: “That one right there made me the greatest player of all time.”2. James has often defined himself as a distributor more than a scorer. Where do you stand on that suggestion now that he is set to become the league’s all-time leading scorer? Is it accurate? Bucher: It just shows how much his game has changed. Early on in his career, he was far more gifted as a passer than a shooter and more comfortable setting someone up for a shot — particularly with the game on the line — than taking the ball and telling everyone to get out of the way. Some of that is because he was playing on the perimeter and wasn’t consistently the biggest player on the floor. It feels like teams doubled him more back then as well. Now that he’s operating more out of the mid-post, has developed a solid mid-range jumper, and teams are defending him with smaller players, he’s been looking for his shot more than ever. The stats bear that out — he’s averaging a career-high 22.7 field goal attempts per 36 minutes, eclipsing his previous high, 21.1, set last season.   Weitzman: I don’t really think this is a binary thing. Like, he can be a great scorer without being a KOBE!-style gunner. The idea that LeBron isn’t a scorer is silly. This is a guy who, in his second year in the NBA, averaged 27.2 points per game. But because he has such a brilliant basketball mind, he’s always understood that shooting isn’t the only option. Double-team him or over-help, and he’s more than happy to sling a cross-court pass to a shooter stationed in the far corner. But don’t mistake that for him not being a “scorer.” He just scores efficiently. That’s the difference. Rohlin: LeBron is one of the greatest scorers in the game. What distinguishes him from most other players is that he values playmaking just as much. While most players view scoring as the ultimate accomplishment, James has always preferred to make the smart play, something he was heavily criticized for, especially at the beginning of his career. LeBron can score whenever he wants. He has made that abundantly clear. When he’s flying downhill, no one wants to get in his way. He has a strong mid-range jumper, and he can score from beyond the arc. But his game is so, so much more than that.3. In your opinion, is the all-time scoring record the most distinguished record in basketball? In all of professional sports?Bucher: No. All-time records are longevity awards. Let’s be honest: We weren’t having these conversations or debates until it became clear LeBron was going to break it. I don’t know if there’s a statistical record that I would consider the most distinguished accolade in the sport. I’d probably say league or Finals MVP awards or All-NBA First Team selections, because they take into account winning and a player’s all-around ability. A player’s scoring average can be influenced by a half-dozen variables, including the offense his team runs, his position, and how his team is constructed. All-NBA or MVP awards are based on who was the best that particular year, no qualifiers.  Weitzman: Definitely not in all of professional sports. I just don’t see how you can say it is when, entering this season, I bet if you polled a bunch of basketball fans and asked who they thought was the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, they would have answered Michael Jordan. As for basketball, it’s up there, but I still think the nature of the sport is one where individual records don’t really hold as much weight as they do in, say, baseball. What makes basketball unique is that it’s a team game but one where an individual can control all the action. So for me, I’m always going to look at things like titles and MVPs. That said, the points record is probably the answer. LeBron James: 89 points shy of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most all-time
“Undisputed” discusses when LeBron James will break the NBA’s all-time scoring record.
Rohlin: Let’s not shortchange this — it’s an incredible achievement. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the record for over 38 years. It was considered unbreakable. This is a testament to James playing at an unbelievably high level for 20 seasons, which, perhaps is in and of itself, more impressive than all the other subjective awards out there, such as MVP. We could argue until our faces turn blue who is the GOAT. But becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer means three things: James was available, consistent and outstanding, year after year, decade after decade.4. How much will overtaking the scoring record bolster James’ claim as the greatest player in NBA history?Bucher: I don’t think it’s a factor at all. Nor should it be. Kobe scored more than Michael — has anyone ever put Kobe over Michael? No. Does the all-time assist title make John Stockton one of the greatest players of all time? Hell, it hasn’t even earned him recognition as the greatest passer or point guard. Were we talking about Kareem as the greatest player in NBA history? I had him in the conversation, but it was less about the scoring title and more about winning five titles, winning six league MVP awards, and being the best all-around center in the game for 16 years. I’ll say it again: all-time records are longevity awards. Longevity doesn’t equate to greatest — it equates to most durable. Those who think LeBron James is the GOAT were already proclaiming him that. Those who don’t think he’ll ever approach Michael Jordan aren’t about to have their minds changed by anything James does statistically at this stage of his career. I’m one of them.   Weitzman: It just solidifies the most impressive part of his résumé, and the thing he has over MJ, which is the longevity. He’ll never catch MJ in rings, and it’s hard to argue for LeBron over MJ if you’re talking about who, at the height of their powers, was the best. But if you want to look at their respective careers as wholes, well, the points record is certainly a nice notch on LeBron’s belt. Rohlin: This record does not necessarily make James the greatest player of all time. But it does mean he has had the greatest career of all-time, with all of his other accomplishments taken into consideration. To be this great, for this long, is unbelievable. And at age 38, he hasn’t even shown any signs of slowing down. James has taken care of his body, he has kept his mind sharp, and he has continually made adjustments to his game to outsmart his competitors. No other player in the history of the league has done that as well as James. And this record helps make that argument ironclad.Top stories from FOX Sports:

AP source: MLB forms economic group as regional TV in peril

AP source: MLB forms economic group as regional TV in peril

NEW YORK — Concerned about a possible bankruptcy for the company that owns local broadcasting rights to 14 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, the league has formed a new economic study committee that will gather next week at the owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Florida.The existence of the committee was disclosed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The committee also will examine revenue disparity among MLB clubs. Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter and Detroit Tigers chairman Chris Ilitch are among the committee members, the person said.Baseball executives have said in recent weeks that the sport needs to prepare in the event that rights-fee payments are not made by Diamond Sports Group, the subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that operates networks under the name Bally Sports. Cable networks have lost subscribers and revenue in recent years due to cord-cutting.Diamond owns rights to the broadcasts for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.Billy Chambers, who had been Sinclair’s chief financial offer, started work this week with MLB in a new position as executive vice president for local media.The Walt Disney Company acquired the regional sports networks in its purchase of 21st Century Fox in March 2019. In August, Sinclair said it had bought 21 regional sports networks and Fox College Sports from Disney in a deal that valued those assets for $10.6 billion.At the time, Disney sold the equity it acquired from Fox in the Yankees’ YES Network to a newly formed investor group that includes Yankee Global Enterprises and Sinclair, a group that held the 80% of YES not previously held by the Yankees, for a total enterprise value of $3.47 billion. Sinclair also holds rights to many NBA and NHL teams and has a joint venture interest in Marquee Sports Network, which broadcasts the Chicago Cubs.This offseason, salaries have risen following last year’s agreement on a five-year labor contract with the players’ association. And payrolls rose 12.6% to a $4.56 billion last year, breaking the previous record set in 2017, and are set to go even higher this year. The New York Mets, entering their third season under owner Steve Cohen, currently project a payroll of about $370 million — which would smash the previous high of $291 million by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers.MLB’s newest study committee follows a pair in the past quarter-century. One was a joint management-union committee that began after the 1990 lockout and recommended in 1992 to eliminate salary arbitration and make players be eligible for free agency after three years instead of six while rejecting management’s suggestion of a salary cap.The other was a committee that met in 1999 and 2000, recommending higher luxury tax rates, sharing 40-50% of local revenues after ballpark expenses and unequal distribution of new national broadcasting, licensing and internet revenue to assist low-revenue clubs that met a payroll minimum.___AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Ukraine pushes to exclude Russia from 2024 Paris Olympics

Ukraine pushes to exclude Russia from 2024 Paris Olympics

KYIV, Ukraine — With next year’s Paris Olympics on the horizon and Russia’s invasion looking more like a prolonged conflict, Ukraine’s sports minister on Friday renewed a threat to boycott the games if Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete and said Kyiv would lobby other nations to join.Such a move could lead to the biggest rift in the Olympic movement since the Cold War era.No nation has declared it will boycott the 2024 Summer Games. But Ukraine won support from Poland, the Baltic nations and Denmark, who pushed back against an International Olympic Committee plan to allow delegations from Russia and ally Belarus to compete in Paris as “neutral athletes,” without flags or anthems.“We cannot compromise on the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes,” said Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Huttsait, who also heads its national Olympic committee, citing attacks on his country, the deaths of its athletes and the destruction of its sports facilities.A meeting of his committee did not commit to a boycott but approved plans to try to persuade global sports officials in the next two months — including discussion of a possible boycott.Huttsait added: “As a last option, but I note that this is my personal opinion, if we do not succeed, then we will have to boycott the Olympic Games.”Paris will be the final Olympics under outgoing IOC head Thomas Bach, who is looking to his legacy after a tenure marked by disputes over Russia’s status — first over widespread doping scandals and now over the war in Ukraine.Bach’s views were shaped when he was an Olympic gold medalist in fencing and his country, West Germany, took part in the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He has condemned that decision ever since.Russia has cautiously welcomed the IOC’s decision to give it a path to the Olympics but demands it drop a condition that would leave out those athletes deemed to be “actively supporting the war in Ukraine.” Russian Olympic Committee head Stanislav Pozdnyakov, who was a teammate of Ukraine’s Huttsait at the 1992 Olympics, called that aspect discriminatory. The IOC, which previously recommended excluding Russia and Belarus from world sports on safety grounds, now argues it cannot discriminate against them purely based on citizenship.The leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania urged the IOC to ban Russia and said a boycott was a possibility.“I think that our efforts should be on convincing our other friends and allies that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes is just wrong,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said. “So boycotting is the next step. I think people will understand why this is necessary.”The IOC said in a statement that “this threat of a boycott only leads to further escalation of the situation, not only in sport, but also in the wider context. It is regretful that politicians are misusing athletes and sport as tools to achieve their political objectives.”It added bluntly: “Why punish athletes from your country for the Russian government starting the war?”Poland’s sports minister Kamil Bortniczuk said as many as 40 countries could jointly condemn Russian and Belarusian participation at Paris in a statement next week but that it could stop short of a boycott threat. He told state news agency PAP that the IOC was being “naive” and should reflect on its position.Denmark wants a ban on Russian athletes “from all international sports as long as their attacks on Ukraine continue,” said Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt.“We must not waver in relation to Russia. The government’s line is clear. Russia must be banned,” he said. “This also applies to Russian athletes who participate under a neutral flag. It is completely incomprehensible that there are apparently doubts about the line in the IOC.”Asked by The Associated Press about the boycott threats and the IOC plan, Paris 2024 organizing committee head Tony Estanguet would not comment “about political decisions.””My job is to make sure that all athletes who want to participate will be offered the best conditions in terms of security, to offer them the chance to live their dream,” he said in Marseille. Ukraine boycotted some sporting events last year rather than compete against Russians.Huttsait said a boycott would be very tough, saying it was “very important for us that our flag is at the Olympic Games; it is very important for us that our athletes are on the podium. So that we show that our Ukraine was, is, and will be.”Marta Fedina, 21, an Olympic bronze medalist in artistic swimming, said in Kyiv she was “ready for a boycott.”“How will I explain to our defenders if I am even present on the same sports ground with these people,” she said, referring to Russian athletes. She noted her swimming pool in Kharkiv, where she was living when Moscow invaded, was ruined by the war.Speakers at the Ukrainian Olympic Committee’s assembly meeting raised concerns about Moscow using Paris for propaganda and noted the close ties between some athletes and the Russian military.White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday if athletes from the two countries compete, “it should be absolutely clear that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian states.” Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympics.If the IOC’s proposal takes effect, Paris would be the fourth straight Olympics where Russian athletes have competed without the national flag or anthem. The Russian teams at the Winter Olympics in 2018 and 2022 and the Summer Olympics in 2021 were all caught up in the fallout from a series of doping cases.The last time multiple countries boycotted an Olympics was in 1988, when North Korea and others refused to attend the Summer Games in South Korea. The North Korean team was a no-show at the Tokyo Games in 2021, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The IOC barred it from the following Winter Games in Beijing as a result, saying teams had a duty to attend every Olympics.Although the IOC set the tone of the debate by publishing advice on finding a way to help Russia and Belarus compete, decisions must be made for the governing bodies of individual sports that organize events on the 32-sport Paris program.Those organizations, many based in the IOC’s home of Lausanne, Switzerland, run their own qualifying and Olympic competitions and decide on eligibility criteria for athletes and teams.The International Cycling Union signed on to the IOC’s plan ahead of its Olympic qualifying events to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as “neutrals.”Track and field’s World Athletics and soccer’s FIFA were among most sports that excluded Russian athletes and teams within days of the start of the war. Tennis and cycling let many Russians and Belarusians continue competing as neutrals. Other governing bodies are more closely aligned with the IOC or traditionally have strong commercial and political ties to Russia.One key meeting could be March 3 in Lausanne of the umbrella group of Summer Games sports, known as ASOIF. It is chaired by Francesco Ricci Bitti, a former IOC member when he led the International Tennis Federation, and includes World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.ASOIF declined comment Friday, though noted this week “the importance of respecting the specificity of each federation and their particular qualification process” for Paris.___Graham Dunbar in Geneva, Bishr El-Touni in Marseille, France, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, contributed.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports___Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine