CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR told its competitors Thursday it is considering eliminating single-car qualifying next season in an overhaul that would likely implement road course-style qualifying at all but two tracks.
Drivers from all three national series met with top NASCAR officials for almost two hours at the R&D Center in Concord to discuss several different ideas under consideration for 2014. The only thing officially announced by NASCAR was that it will mandate baseline concussion testing for drivers starting next season.
But series officials also outlined potential changes to qualifying procedures everywhere except Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the field would likely be set at Daytona and Talladega with an "open qualifying session" that would allow for a 60-minute drafting session.
"It's not written in stone at this point in time," Tharp told The Associated Press.
Vigil, rally held: Hundreds of Eastern Michigan University students held a march, rally and candlelight vigil Thursday for slain football player Demarius Reed.
The "Increase the Peace" events began Thursday afternoon on its Ypsilanti campus. Students carrying signs saying "halt the violence," ''SOS" and "peace over politics" marched to the off-campus apartment complex where Reed was repeatedly shot last Friday in what police say may have been a robbery.
Dismisses return: Brett Favre dismissed the possibility of returning to the NFL with St. Louis, and Rams coach Jeff Fisher declined to address reports he tried to lure the quarterback out of retirement to replace the injured Sam Bradford.
Favre told Washington sports station WSPZ-AM he doesn't feel physically able to compete and expressed fear that he has been affected by concussions.
NFL in London: The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will travel to London next year to take part in the NFL International Series.
The NFL will hold three games at Wembley Stadium in 2014, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders as the designated home teams.
The lineup: Cowboys vs. Jaguars, Lions vs. Falcons, and Dolphins vs. Raiders.
Female officiating crew: A majority-female officiating crew worked a college football game in an apparent first.
The four women were part of the seven-person crew for the Division II game between Miles and Lane. The Southern Intercollege Athletic Conference is billing it as the first time it's happened in an NCAA game.
Marlins park bowl game: The Miami Marlins' ballpark will host a team from the American Athletic Conference in the annual Miami Beach Bowl beginning in 2014.
The opponent will most likely come from the Mid-American, the Sun Belt or Conference USA.
OSU date changed: Ohio State will host Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia Tech on Sept. 6 next year instead of Sept. 20, as was originally scheduled.
The change was made to accommodate ESPN.
Ratings jump: With the Boston Red Sox back in the World Series, television ratings jumped for the opener.
Boston's 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals drew an 8.6 national rating, a 14 share and 14.4 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday.
The rating was up 13 percent from the 7.6/12 for San Francisco's 8-3 victory over Detroit last year, which was a record low for a World Series opener.
Graduation rates: College athletes are graduating at an all-time high, according to the NCAA's newest report.
The data, released Thursday, shows 82 percent of athletes who entered school in the fall of 2006 earned a diploma within six years. That's up one percentage point from last year, tying the record high.
The four-year graduation rate covering freshmen classes from 2003 through 2006 also increased by one percentage point to 81 percent.