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Data: Public records request; Chart: Axios Visuals

What was once unthinkable, even as recently as two weeks ago, is now being discussed openly throughout college sports: coronavirus could force the cancellation of the 2020 college football season.

Why it matters: 80% of FBS athletic budgets are made up of football revenue. So if the season was canceled — or even shortened — the economic fallout would be exponentially worse than what we saw with March Madness.

  • By the numbers: Take LSU, for example. During the 2016-17 cycle, football generated $56 million in profit for the school, while all other sports accounted for $23 million in losses, according to a public records request filed by SI's Ross Dellenger during his time as a beat writer.

What they're saying:

  • ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit: "I'll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I'll be so surprised if that happens."
  • Texas coach Tom Herman: "I couldn't [imagine a fall without football] two weeks ago. I can now."
  • Athletic directors: Nearly one-fifth of FBS ADs "believe there is at least a 50% chance" of a shortened season, according to a survey conducted by Stadium.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.