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Photo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The NCAA announced new guidelines on Thursday for colleges to follow as they navigate the return of fall sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The directions are designed to help schools respond to and protect athletes from possible community spread of COVID-19. Some universities have abruptly cut sports teams and reevaluated programs because of the economic fallout from the outbreak.

What they're saying: "When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in Thursday's statement.

  • "Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic."

Details: The guidelines call for daily self-health checks, the use of face masks and social distancing when possible, testing strategies for all athletic activities, and testing and results within 72 hours of high contact risk sports.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2020 - Sports

NCAA close to approving name, image and likeness compensation proposal for student athletes

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NCAA is one step closer to allowing student athletes to earn compensation for their name, image and likeness, with a new proposal expected to be approved in January.

Details: Once approved, the bylaw would be implemented ahead of the 2021-22 school year.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 16, 2020 - Health

How colleges have learned to combat the coronavirus

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some colleges are creating a blueprint for how to safely remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, relying heavily on regular testing and doing what they can to curb parties and other large gatherings.

Why it matters: College reopenings were tied to several big outbreaks, and young adults will likely be among the last to receive a coronavirus vaccine. So colleges and students need figure out how to live amid the virus.

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.