COLLEGES

The University of Maine football team has been selected to finish ninth in the 12-team Colonial Athletic Association this fall, as announced Tuesday during the league’s virtual media day.

James Madison was first in the preseason poll, voted on by the league’s head coaches and media relations directors. The Dukes were followed by Delaware, Villanova, Richmond and New Hampshire in the top five.

Maine wide receiver Andrew Miller was named to the league’s preseason All-Conference team while special teams ace Bryce Colee earned an honorable mention to the team.

The Black Bears begin their preseason practices next week. Their season opener is on Sept. 2 against Delaware in Orono.

• Texas and Oklahoma made a request to join the powerhouse Southeastern Conference, with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.”

A day after the Big 12 schools notified the league that they would not be extending an agreement that binds conference members to 2025, the schools publicly stated for the first time they want to join the SEC.

Oklahoma and Texas sent a joint letter to Sankey, requesting “invitations for membership to the Southeastern Conference starting on July 1, 2025.”

“We believe that there would be mutual benefit to the universities on the one hand, and the SEC on the other hand, for the universities to become members of the SEC. We look forward to the prospect of discussions regarding this matter,” the schools said in a letter signed by each university’s president.

Oklahoma and Texas are bound to the Big 12 and its eight other members through the 2024-25 school year by a grant of media rights that runs concurrent with the conference’s billion-dollar television deals with ESPN and Fox.

Joining another conference before the grant of rights expires would cost the schools tens of millions of dollars per year in relinquished revenue and possibly exit penalties.

BASEBALL: Mississippi State says Coach Chris Lemonis has signed a long-term contract extension, less than a month after guiding the Bulldogs to their first College World Series national championship.

A release said Lemonis will earn a base salary of $1.25 million next year, followed by annual increases of $25,000. The contract’s length was not specified.

Lemonis is 255-128-2 in seven seasons as a head coach, including 114-37 in three years at MSU. That included a 50-18 mark this spring, capped by the Bulldogs’ first national title in any team sport in their third consecutive CWS appearance. The American Baseball Coaches Association also named Lemonis as NCAA Division I national coach of the year.

SOCCER

MLS: Patrick Mahomes has become part of MLS club Sporting Kansas City’s ownership group.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Sporting Kansas City’s ownership team and strengthen my connection to the fans and the city I love,” Mahomes said in a statement. “Sporting is a community-oriented club and I am excited to continue supporting the growth of soccer in Kansas City.”

Mahomes also is a part owner of baseball’s Kansas City Royals and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, is a co-owner of the women’s soccer club Kansas City NWSL. In 2019, Mahomes established the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children.

MANCHESTER UNITED: Manchester United announced an agreement to sign center-back Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

The 28-year-old French international’s pending arrival follows United’s signing of winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund last week.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Red Bull has successfully asked for a review of the incident at Silverstone between Formula One leader Max Verstappen and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

The FIA will hear from Red Bull via video conference on Thursday ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The team has been fuming since contact between Verstappen and Hamilton on the first lap of the British Grand Prix caused Verstappen to crash hard into a barrier and sent the Dutchman briefly to the hospital for evaluation.

Red Bull accused Hamilton of making a “desperate” move to edge ahead of his rival on the first lap because the reigning champion knew getting ahead of Verstappen at the start was his only chance to win on his home track and tighten the championship race. Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for the incident but recovered to win for the first time in six races. It snapped a five-race winning streak for Red Bull and cut Verstappen’s lead in the title fight from 33 points to eight.

Verstappen has five wins to Hamilton’s four this season and the Red Bull seems to at last have the pace to challenge Mercedes.

• Lewis Hamilton launched a charitable foundation Tuesday that will both support diversity and inclusion in motorsports and empower underrepresented youth groups in Britain.

The seven-time Formula One champion formed Mission 44 with a personal pledge of 20 million pounds ($27.5 million) earmarked to support programs and organizations that narrow the gap in employment and education systems.

Additionally, Hamilton partnered with his Mercedes team on the “Ignite” initiative to focus on ensuring better representation of “diverse students studying STEM and engineering, as well as wider parts of the industry.” Ignite will work closely with Mission 44.


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