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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to grant an extra season of eligibility to all spring-sport athletes whose seasons were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Between the lines: The council left it up to each university to determine how much scholarship aid to offer athletes who were in what would have been their final season of eligibility.

  • Given the financial stress that schools are already under, some athletic departments will have a hard time affording those costs.
  • This means a returning senior could technically have a spot on the team, but as little as $0 in athletic scholarship money.

Sports impacted: Baseball, lacrosse, golf, softball, rowing, tennis, outdoor track and field, women's water polo, men's volleyball and beach volleyball.

  • Sports not impacted: Winter sports like basketball and hockey, which had their postseasons interrupted but were able to complete all or much of their regular seasons.

What to watch:

  • Schools will be permitted to exceed scholarship limits to cover returning seniors while accommodating incoming freshmen and transfers, who will be joining rosters that are suddenly more crowded than expected.
  • The Ivy League, which does not typically allow for fifth-year athletes and has strict requirements for granting redshirts, said in a statement that it supported the NCAA's proposal and is "considering the implications."
  • While some baseball seniors will still enter the MLB draft rather than return to school to play for free, MLB's decision to shorten this year's draft from 40 rounds to as few as five means plenty of pro-ready seniors could come back.

The big picture: For seniors who graduate this spring, my understanding is that they'll have three options if they choose to continue playing sports: enroll in another undergraduate program, begin graduate school, or transfer — assuming the extra year can be used at another member institution.

  • So, while seniors now have the right to extend their college athletic careers, it will be interesting to see how many actually choose to do so.
  • Four of the five seniors I spoke with yesterday already have jobs lined up and won't be returning to campus. The fifth said she's considering it "because I love my teammates and we have a chance to win a national title next year."

Go deeper: NCAA cancels March Madness tournament due to coronavirus

Go deeper

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC: Unvaccinated are over 11 times more likely to die from COVID

Expand chart
Reproduced from CDC; Note: Data represents 30% of Americans across 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Wash., Utah and Wisconsin; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The CDC recently published data evaluating Americans' rate of coronavirus cases and deaths by vaccine status, providing more data on which vaccines are working best and how much protection they offer relative to being unvaccinated.

What they found: As of August, unvaccinated people had a more than six times higher risk of testing positive for the coronavirus, and were more than 11 times more likely to die from the virus.