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The University of Cincinnati's soccer field. Courtesy: Katie Kapusta/Spectrum News 1 Cincy

With athletic departments reeling from the coronavirus fallout and bracing for a shortened — or even canceled — college football season, schools are taking drastic measures to protect themselves financially.

Driving the news: The University of Cincinnati cut men's soccer yesterday, which will save the school roughly $800,000 per year. The Bearcats have been competing in men's soccer since 1973.

  • It's the second major program to be discontinued since the start of the pandemic (Old Dominion wrestling), and the sad reality is that the cuts may have only just begun.

What they're saying: "I think now that Cincinnati just did it, watch the next month. They cleared the way for other people to do it. Cincinnati puts it on a different level," one FBS athletic director told Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel.

  • "Athletic directors are using this as a reset," an industry source told Thamel. "Some athletic directors have been talking about cutting sports for three years and just looking for the right time."

The big picture: In a letter sent to NCAA president Mark Emmert and obtained by AP, commissioners of the AAC, Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA (aka the "Group of Five") asked the NCAA to relax certain requirements for four years to provide "short-term relief."

  • Most notably, they asked for relief from the minimum number of sports a school must sponsor (NCAA rules require D-I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports).

Go deeper: How the sports world is helping on coronavirus

Go deeper

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.