When Arizona hastily called a news conference on Thursday afternoon, it appeared coach Sean Miller’s tenure in Tucson could be coming to an end. Instead, the coach vehemently denied a report claiming he discussed a six-figure payment to a recruit. Less than three hours later, the school president announced Miller will remain as the 19th-ranked Wildcats’ coach. ‘‘We have no reason to believe Miller violated NCAA rules or the law,’’ university president Robert C. Robbins said Thursday afternoon. ‘‘We will continue to pursue every avenue of inquiry available to us during this active and federal investigation to fully understand the facts.’’ ESPN reported last Friday, using anonymous sources, the FBI had Miller on a wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to Wildcats freshman Deandre Ayton to attend the school. Miller denied the report and said he looked forward to shifting his focus back to basketball. ‘‘There was no such conversation,’’ Miller said. ‘‘These statements have damaged me, my family, the university, Deandre Ayton and his incredible family.’’ Robbins said he and athletic director Dave Heeke decided to keep Miller after having face-to-face discussions with the coach and going over investigations conducted by the school and federal authorities.
BC women’s coach resigns
Boston College women’s basketball coach Erik Johnson resigned after completing his sixth season with the Eagles, going 68-115 overall and 19-77 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. BC assistant Yvonne Hawkins will serve as interim head coach . . . Daryl Watts, a freshman forward on the BC women’s hockey team, was named one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top Division 1 women’s player. Watts, of Toronto, ranked as the nation’s leading scorer after posting the third-highest point total ever by an NCAA freshman with 81 points (40 goals, 41 assists).
Kelly facing cancer again
Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has once again been diagnosed with oral cancer. Kelly released a statement through his publicist saying he is ‘‘shocked and deeply saddened’’ by the news. Kelly was diagnosed a few weeks after he celebrated his 58th birthday. Kelly was first diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which led to the surgical removal of his upper jaw in June 2013. He had been cancer-free since September 2014.
Jaguars DE gets probation
Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler was sentenced to a year of probation and 75 hours of community service for a parking lot attack on a man last July. Fowler was sentenced after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery, criminal mischief and petty theft. St. Petersburg police said Fowler was arrested after confronting a man who made a comment about his driving in a parking lot. Fowler exchanged words with the man before hitting him, knocking his glasses off and stepping on them. He took a grocery bag from the man and tossed it into a nearby lake.
Cavs ban Smith one game
Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was suspended one game by the team for detrimental conduct. The team gave no further specifics about the punishment. Smith, a 14-year veteran who has started 56 games and averaged 8.3 points, served the penalty in Thursday night’s home game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
USOC chief Blackmun quits
Scott Blackmun resigned as chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, stepping aside so the 60-year-old can tackle his worsening bout with prostate cancer and allow the federation to move forward to address the sex-abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar, the doctor who sexually abused members of the US gymnastics team.
Neymar to sit out 3 months
Neymar will have surgery on a fractured toe in his right foot and could be out for up to three months, an estimate that would take the Brazil forward right up to the World Cup. Neymar was injured Sunday in Paris Saint-Germain’s match against Marseille in the French league . . . Three-time Grand Slam singles champion Stan Wawrinka will skip hard-court US events at Indian Wells and Miami to rest his injured left knee and prepare for the European clay-court season.