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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

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.

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.