State title games staying in Columbia

The South Carolina High School League voted 13-2 Tuesday at its executive committee meeting to keep the Class 5A through 3A state championship games at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, according to a report from The State.

In March, Clemson recruiting director Thad Turnipseed and former Northwestern High football coach Kyle Richardson proposed to change the state title game format, with games being played at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

The SCHSL also voted unanimously to keep five classifications in high school sports. Classification and region realignment is set to take place before the 2020-21 school year.

Lander men’s soccer ranked 5th in nation

Lander men’s soccer is ranked No. 5 in the country according to the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll. The ranking marks the second consecutive season the Bearcats have opened the year nationally-ranked after beginning the 2018 campaign at No. 12. Lander shares the No. 5 spot with Young Harris and Adelphi.

The Bearcats, winners of last season’s Southeast Region championship, return three all-Southeast Region performers in junior midfielder Thibault Chretien, senior defender Kyle Ferguson, and sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Withers.

Lander coach Lee Squires led the Bearcats to a 16-2-3 overall record in 2018 and reached the quarterfinals in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history. Lander has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons, the second-longest streak in program history.

Jordy Nelson retires with Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Former Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who won a Super Bowl alongside Aaron Rodgers, signed a one-day contract with the Packers on Tuesday and announced his retirement after 11 seasons, 10 of which he spent in Green Bay.

Nelson will be remembered for his speed, size and chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was the starter for Nelson’s entire tenure in Green Bay. The pair won a Super Bowl after the 2010 season, and Nelson was a big part of the 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown that he called his most cherished memory.

Cowboys releases Rico Gathers

OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are waiving tight end Rico Gathers, ending three years of steady progress with the club for the former Baylor basketball player who chose to pursue pro football over a shot at the NBA.

The 25-year-old Gathers’ status on the roster became more tenuous when 11-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten came out of retirement after a year in broadcasting. Gathers also missed time at training camp with an ankle injury before Monday’s decision.

Gathers hadn’t played football in a decade when he decided after four years in the Baylor basketball program that he would make himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Cubs place Kimbrel on IL

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have placed closer Craig Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation, and All-Star catcher Willson Contreras will miss the next four weeks with a right hamstring strain.

The injuries are a pair of significant blows for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who are trying to hold off St. Louis and Milwaukee to win the division for the third time in four years.

Kimbrel says his knee started bothering him while he was closing out Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Brewers. The IL stint is retroactive to Sunday, and Kimbrel thinks he will be ready when he is eligible to return.

Nash to contribute to TNT’s NBA coverage

Steve Nash will take on an expanded role in his second year with Turner Sports, contributing to NBA coverage.

The network announced Tuesday that Nash is returning to B/R Football’s UEFA Champions League broadcasts on TNT and B/R Live. He’ll also be a contributor to TNT’s NBA coverage when the upcoming season begins in October.

The two-time NBA MVP will offer features and player profiles during coverage on Tuesdays in January.

Blue Jays to extend ballpark netting

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays say they’ll extend protective netting at Rogers Centre next season, joining other teams that have taken measures after foul balls injured fans.

The team also announced Tuesday they’ll extend the nets at their spring training home next season in Dunedin, Florida. The team says the length and height of the new netting has not been determined.

Mariners’ Beckham suspended 80 games

SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners infielder Tim Beckham has been suspended 80 games as part of baseball’s joint drug agreement after testing positive for stanozolol, a banned performance enhancer, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.

Beckham’s suspension is effective immediately and ends his season.

Beckham was hitting .237 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs in 88 games this season, his first in Seattle. The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008 was a starter at the beginning of the year but had moved into a utility role over the past couple of months, playing all four infield positions and in left field.

Contact sports writer Skylar Rolstad at 223-1813 or follow him on Twitter @SkyRolSports.