Exercised Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is now under contract for the next two seasons. The Panthers exercised the fifth-year option on Newton’s contract, meaning the former No. 1 draft pick will be with the team at least through the end of the 2015 season. Newton is slated to make $3.37 million this season and would receive $14.67 million in 2015 if he doesn’t sign a contract extension before then.
• The Buffalo Bills picked up the fifth-year option on the contract of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.
Announced National champion Connecticut is losing one junior star to the NBA draft, while another says he is staying with the Huskies. The school announced that forward DeAndre Daniels has filed the necessary paperwork with the NBA and will forgo his senior season of eligibility. It also said that guard Ryan Boatright will return next season to Storrs.
• Kentucky twin freshman guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison will return for a second season to a stocked Wildcats squad coming off an NCAA championship-game appearance. Both had been mentioned as possible NBA first-round draft picks after leading Kentucky’s march through the NCAA tournament.
Released Tennessee released 6-foot-8 forward Phil Cofer from the basketball letter of intent he signed in November. Athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak said 6-foot-8 forward CJ Turman also is expected to seek a release, though Tennessee hasn’t received a formal request from him yet. Guards Larry Austin Jr. and Jordan Cornish received releases Wednesday. All four recruits signed with Tennessee when Cuonzo Martin was coaching the team. Martin left for California on April 15 and was replaced Tuesday by Donnie Tyndall.
Signed Former Duke quarterback Brandon Connette is transferring to Fresno State and will be eligible to play this upcoming season as a graduate student. Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said Connette has signed a scholarship agreement. DeRuyter said Connette will compete to replace the departed Derek Carr as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs.
Died Soccer coach Tito Vilanova, who succeeded Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and won the Spanish league title in his only season in charge, died of throat cancer. He was 45. As Guardiola’s assistant, Vilanova helped build one of the best teams in the history of the sport, winning two Champions League titles.