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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The college sports landscape could change more in the next six months than it has in the last 50 years, as the NCAA grapples with new competition, new laws and new rules.

How it works... 1. Startup leagues: Investors are flocking to new leagues that aim to compete with the NCAA, evidence of just how much opposition there is to the amateurism model — and how much belief there is in new ones.

  • Driving the news: Sports media startup Overtime has raised $80 million ahead of the fall launch of its basketball league, which will offer high schoolers six-figure salaries to skip college. Investors include Jeff Bezos, Drake and 25 active and former NBA players.
  • Plus .... The Professional Collegiate League, which plans to pay college athletes, just inked a TV deal. And of course, the NBA's G League paid top recruits upwards of $500,000 to skip college this past season.

2. NIL legislation: Congress is expected to discuss a federal name, image and likeness law in the coming months, but more and more states are unwilling to wait for lawmakers — or the NCAA — to act.

  • The latest: 10 states have passed laws that will allow athletes to sign endorsement deals: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey and New Mexico. 14 more have active bills.
  • What's next: Laws in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and New Mexico take effect in July. If the NCAA hopes to buy itself more time, it will need to file lawsuits in each state, notes ESPN's Dan Murphy.

3. Transfer rules: The NCAA Division I Council voted last week to grant all athletes the ability to transfer once and be immediately eligible.

  • Why it matters: This will fundamentally alter the college football and basketball landscapes, where transfer rates were already skyrocketing.
  • The big picture: While this is clearly the fair thing to do for athletes, it also creates what is essentially college sports' version of free agency.

Zoom out ... Major college sports are a uniquely American concept. Nowhere else in the world are elite high school athletes recruited to play for universities.

  • So, while it's hard for Americans to imagine the NCAA model being upended, it's worth remembering that it's hard for non-Americans to imagine it existing in the first place.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jul 31, 2021 - Sports

Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletes

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Asano Ikko/AFP), Ezra Shaw, and Alex Pantling via Getty Images

TOKYO — After 125 years of having no openly transgender competitors at the Olympics, there are several transgender and nonbinary athletes at this year's Games.

Between the lines: While still small in number, the presence of trans athletes has been a major point of controversy at these Games, coming up repeatedly at IOC press conferences and in newspaper headlines around the world.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.