Sport

Arizona Football League helps keep dream of playing alive

PHOENIX — The challenge of serving four years in Afghanistan as part of an Air Force special operations unit was not enough for Jason Sweet. He wanted to fill an athletic void that he felt he lost when he enlisted. Then he discovered the Arizona Football League.


High schools adopting analytics modeled after the big leagues

PHOENIX — Ask anyone involved in sports, and they will probably know that high school athletics often mirror concepts from professionals. This especially rings true with the increased use of major league-style analytics in high school baseball.


Former NFL kicker hopes to improve football safety with technology

PHOENIX — Nick Lowery played football at the highest level for 18 years, but more than two decades after his 1996 retirement he continues to impact the game by improving the safety of the sport.


Renovated Sun Devil Stadium could be a candidate for a naming-rights deal

TEMPE -- There are 13 NCAA Football Bowl Series programs that have made naming-rights deals for their stadiums. Only two are members of the Pac-12 Conference, and Arizona State isn’t one of them. That could soon change.


After leaving ASU, Jack Elway quits football, forges own path

PHOENIX -- His name is not “John Elway’s son.” It’s “Jack Elway.”


Arizona’s open-enrollment policy can make choosing high schools complicated for athletes

PHOENIX - It’s one of the most important decisions parents have to make: Where will their child go to school? The open-enrollment policy in Arizona high schools can make the decision even more complicated, especially for athletically talented students.


Baseball commissioner pushing changes to speed up games

PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball is walking a fine line. The sport is trying to build its fan base by speeding up the game and eliminating unnecessary dead time between plays.


University of Arizona hopes new student fee for athletics can be game-changer

TUCSON — Granted, it is the offseason, but a quick glance around the Gate 2 underpass at Arizona Stadium shows the need for upgrades.


Fan friendliness of Cactus League makes it popular draw

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series last fall for the first time in 108 years. This spring, fans in the Cactus League turned out in record numbers to watch the new champions — home and away.


Passion, hard work pay off for Valley NASCAR driver McDowell

LOS ANGELES - When Michael McDowell first visited the Phoenix Kart Racing Association track, it was not to drive but to clap and cheer for his brother’s friend. Engulfed in the competitive atmosphere and a witness to Arizona’s love for the sport, the experience captivated him.


Diversity among fans, players a priority for NHL

PHOENIX -- The Valley is a symbol for the changing face of hockey. One of the Coyotes’ top young players is of Haitian descent. The head of the team’s instructional school is female. And the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL draft, Scottsdale’s Auston Matthews, has a mother from Mexico.


Southern California All-American lends big hand to young yoga students

LOS ANGELES -- Later this month, Zach Banner’s name will be called at the NFL Draft, whereupon he’ll leave the college comforts of Southern California and begin a life of professional size and skill.