Sports’ future in balance as showdown opens over sprinter’s hormone levels

The longtime standoff between Olympic champion Caster Semenya and track and field’s governing body over issues of gender, hormones and performance in sports reached a pivotal phase Monday as a key tribunal began hosting a planned five-day hearing in a case that could have massive repercussions throughout sports.

The two-time 800-meter gold medalist from South Africa came and went from the offices of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday without addressing reporters after a marathon opening session, but her legal team and IAAF lawyers were jockeying for position in the court of public opinion.

Both sides acknowledged that the ruling in the case — which isn’t expected until late March — could have huge implications, notably over where to draw the line between the genders and how to ensure fairness in top-tier competition.

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Italian league boots

team that lost 20-0

A third-tier Italian team has been kicked out of the league after losing 20-0 on Sunday. Lega Pro, the governing body of Serie C, announced the exclusion of Pro Piacenza on Monday.

Pro Piacenza, which has financial problems and hadn’t paid its players or staff, needed to present a team for the match or it would have been thrown out of the division after having forfeited three matches.

The team arrived at Cuneo with seven players, the minimum required. They were between 16 and 19 years old, and one player forgot his identity card, so the masseur had to play. Cuneo led 16-0 at halftime.

• Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba each scored first-half goals as Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to advance to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

• Roma beat relegation-threatened Bologna 2-1 in Serie A to stay firmly in the race for a Champions League place. Roma moved back to one point shy of AC Milan, which occupies the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot. Roma is also three points clear of Atalanta and city rival Lazio, which both lost during the weekend.

NFL: The Jacksonville Jaguars have exercised a $12 million option on Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell for 2019. Campbell signed a four-year, $60 million contract with Jacksonville in March 2017. The deal included $30 million guaranteed. He made the Pro Bowl in both seasons with the Jaguars, totaling 139 tackles, 25 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Tennis: Serena Williams has returned to the top 10 in the rankings for the first time since taking a break to have her first child. Williams dropped as low as 491st upon her return to competition in March 2018 but is up to No. 10 after reaching two Grand Slam finals since then.

College baseball: Tim Tawa had three of Stanford’s 14 hits and the seventh-ranked Cardinal (4-0) got six shutout innings from Alex Williams in a 14-4 rout at Grand Canyon (2-2). … In Tempe, Ariz., Andrew Vaughn hit his second homer of the season and Sam Wezniak delivered a three-run triple as Cal (1-3) picked up a 10-6 win over BYU (2-2).

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Sports-future-in-balance-as-showdown-opens-13626133.php.

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