Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Friday called on major college athletic conferences to cancel their fall sports to ensure athletes' safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the Hartford Courant reports.

Why it matters: It's one of the first interventions from a prominent politician on the topic — and it comes after the Ivy League's move to pause fall sports and the Big Ten's decision to keep its competitions conference-only.

  • The Big Ten's decision, in particular, is likely to have a snowball effect on the rest of the country, and could force all Power 5 conferences to follow suit, resulting in a regionalized fall sports season.

What he's saying: "The Ivy League has taken a principled stand that it’s going to put the well-being and health of athletes first. The bigger football schools, which are dependent on the revenues, may see themselves differently, but my point is, no matter how much a school is a football powerhouse, no matter how big the revenues involved, athletes should be put first.”

  • Blumenthal, a frequent critic of the NCAA, also said that even if other major conferences follow the Big Ten's lead, that would not eliminate the inherent risks of returning to the field.

Go deeper: College sports stare down a coronavirus-driven disaster in the fall

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.