Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — DJ Durkin’s return as Maryland’s football coach lasted one day. Durkin was fired just over 24 hours after being reinstated.

Instead of resolving the issues facing the flawed program, the decision by the University System of Maryland board of regents on Tuesday to retain Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans created a different set of problems in the wake of a player’s death and discontent engulfing the football team.

Several state officials called for Durkin to be fired, and one called the decision to retain him an “embarrassment.”

Maryland President Wallace Loh fired Durkin after conferring with the leadership of the Student Government Association, the Senate Executive Committee, deans, department chairs and campus leadership. The firing came about five months after offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed on the practice field and later died of heatstroke.

“The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus,” Loh wrote in a statement.

BASEBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Willie McCovey, the sweet-swinging Hall of Famer nicknamed “Stretch” for his 6-foot-4 height and those long arms, has died. He was 80.

The San Francisco Giants announced his death, saying the fearsome hitter passed “peacefully” Wednesday afternoon “after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”

He had attended games at AT&T Park as recently as the final game of the season.

Even four-plus decades later, it still stung for the left-handed slugging McCovey that he never won a World Series after coming so close. He lined out to end the Giants’ 1962 World Series loss to the Yankees.

McCovey had been getting around in a wheelchair in recent years because he could no longer rely on his once-dependable legs, yet was still regularly seen at the ballpark in his private suite.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers want some more time to consider their possible future together.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and the team agreed to extend the deadline on his opt-out decision by 40 hours until 1 p.m. PDT Friday.

The team made the announcement a couple hours before the initial 9 p.m. PDT deadline Thursday.

Kershaw can opt out of the last two years and $65 million of his contract to become a free agent for the first time in an 11-year big league career spent entirely with the Dodgers. They drafted him in 2006.

If he opts out, he could negotiate with any team, including the Dodgers.

BOSTON (AP) — Confetti cannons boomed and huge crowds of fans cheered wildly as the Boston Red Sox rumbled through downtown aboard duck boats to mark the team’s fourth World Series championship in the past 15 years.

One of the team’s championship trophies and team manager Alex Cora were hit by flying cans of beer that Boston fans have made a practice of offering their sports heroes during recent victory parades. Neither was seriously injured and it didn’t take any varnish off the shining celebration.

The rolling rally set off from venerable Fenway Park and wound its way through major city streets lined by fans numbering in the hundreds of thousands, some who arrived before dawn.

Bits of red, white and blue paper rained down as team officials, players, and their families waved from the amphibious, World War II-era vehicles. Some autographed balls and drank beers tossed to them from the jubilant throng.

OLYMPICS

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Calgary’s potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympics survived a city council vote Wednesday when a motion leading to the cancellation of an upcoming plebiscite failed to pass.

Ten votes out of 15 from the council were required to abandon the Nov. 13 plebiscite asking Calgarians if they want to host the games or not. Eight voted in favor of reconsidering the plebiscite.

It appeared the possibility of a bid was headed for the ditch Tuesday when a councilor said there wasn’t a financial agreement between the federal and provincial governments and the city to fund the games. But the bid corporation Calgary 2026 presented a revised financial plan, which the Canadian and Alberta governments agree to in principle, to council Wednesday.

The estimated cost of hosting the 2026 Games was reduced by $125 million to a total of $5,075,000,000.

Mail-in ballots for the plebiscite were mailed out earlier in the week. Advance voting is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

DOPING

WASHINGTON (AP) — Olympic athletes have joined the acting White House drug czar and anti-doping officials to call on the World Anti-Doping Agency to reform its governance.

Wednesday’s summit was organized by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in part as a response to WADA’s reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency. The Russian agency was banned for three years for what investigators said was state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Acting drug czar James Carroll stopped short of threatening to withdraw U.S. funding to WADA, calling that “an issue of last resort.” Instead, participants in the summit hope to pressure WADA to make changes from within that will eliminate conflicts of interest and give athletes a more prominent voice.

WADA said in a statement that the summit was one-sided and its representatives were not invited.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Notre Dame is No. 1 in the preseason AP women’s basketball poll.

The defending national champions received all 31 first-place votes from a national media panel. It’s only the second time that Muffet McGraw’s team has been the preseason No. 1 team. It also occurred in 2016. The Irish return four starters from last season’s team that battled through a bunch of ACL injuries.

UConn was second in the poll, ending a run of 34 consecutive weeks at No. 1. The Huskies have been in the top five every week since Jan. 29, 2007. Oregon followed the Huskies, earning the best ranking in program history. The Ducks have lofty expectations this year.

Baylor and Louisville were fourth and fifth.

Mississippi State, Stanford, Oregon State, Maryland and South Carolina rounded out the top 10 teams. Eight is the best ranking in the preseason for Oregon State in the program’s history.