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Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The splintering of big-time college football has set the stage for even more drama as the fall inches closer and campuses start to re-open.

The state of play: The Big Ten and Pac-12 are planning for a possible spring season (a logistical nightmare) amid backlash from players and coaches. The SEC, Big 12 and ACC are still planning to play this fall, which has put move-in weekend under a microscope as students return to campus.

Football news:

  • Ohio State QB Justin Fields started a petition requesting that the Big Ten allow teams to decide for themselves whether they wish to play in the fall. It already has over 200,000 signatures.
  • Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence spoke with President Trump on Saturday. "He made the statement that he feels he's safer on the field than he is outside of the field," Trump told reporters.

Coronavirus news:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill has called an emergency meeting after reporting its fourth cluster of coronavirus cases on campus in the span of three days.
  • Nine Oklahoma players tested positive for COVID-19 after getting the week off from football. The team was allowed to return home, but over 75% stayed on campus, according to coach Lincoln Riley.

The bottom line: Add in NCAA doctors saying football is a bad idea, and you're looking at an "all-time cluster."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Oct 15, 2020 - Sports

NCAA grants D-I winter athletes additional year of eligibility

In an attempt to provide as much flexibility as possible amid a time of great uncertainty, the NCAA has granted all D-I winter athletes an additional year of eligibility — something that was already granted to all fall and spring athletes.

What they're saying: Grace Calhoun, who chairs the NCAA's D-I council and is the athletic director at Penn, said the council didn't want athletes choosing to redshirt because of fears that their seasons might be cut short or negatively impacted by the pandemic.

33 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

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