Thursday, June 18, 2020   
IHL task force releases safe reopen guidelines for the fall
The Safe Start Task Force recently developed a plan outlining its recommendations for the policies, practices and protocols necessary for opening the campuses for the Fall semester. The plan was presented as an information item at the Board meeting held today via teleconference. The Task Force was established recently by Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. to craft a system-level plan for starting and completing the fall 2020 semester in the safest and most effective way, so that students and universities can achieve the best possible outcomes, regardless of the challenging circumstances. Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. David Shaw served as Chair. "The task force had an invaluable mix of expertise that allowed us to develop baseline practices and recommendations, which will ensure all IHL institutions develop specific plans that simultaneously provide a quality education and do so in a safe and healthy manner," said Dr. Shaw. "I commend Commissioner Rankins for his foresight in creating this task force, and ensuring we protect our students, faculty and staff. "
Safe Start Task Force releases report for opening Mississippi campuses for Fall semester
The Safe Start Task Force recently developed a plan outlining its recommendations for the policies, practices and protocols necessary for opening the campuses for the Fall semester. The Task Force was established recently by Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. to craft a system-level plan for starting and completing the fall 2020 semester in the safest and most effective way amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "We are facing extraordinary times in higher education due to the coronavirus pandemic," said Dr. Rankins. "The task force did not have the benefit of precedent to draw from while addressing multiple issues and keeping the health and safety of the campus community central in all recommendations. The task force has developed a clear roadmap for the universities." Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. David Shaw served as Chair.
NCC Commends Choices for EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee
The National Cotton Council (NCC) commends EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's appointments to the Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC), which includes two members of the U.S. cotton industry. Administrator Wheeler selected 33 members of the agricultural community to represent a variety of sectors from across the U.S., including agricultural stakeholders and allied industries; academia; state, local and tribal government; and nongovernmental organizations. Among the appointees are Stacy Smith, a cotton producer from New Home, TX, and Dr. Jeffrey Gore, a research professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, MS. "With these selections, the U.S. cotton industry and its priorities will be well represented on the FRRCC," said NCC President and CEO Dr. Gary Adams.
Oktibbeha supervisors approve $3.16 million road plan for next four years
Oktibbeha supervisors unanimously approved a $3.16 million, four-year road project plan Monday after postponing the vote at their previous meeting. The proposed projects total 35.69 miles of 53 county roads and range from resurfacing or removing debris to completely converting some roads from gravel to pavement. Each of the five districts is allotted $537,000 for the list of roads to repair, but the estimated costs of all five lists total between $80,000 and $120,000 more than their budgets, though the dollar amounts are based on past costs for work on each road and are not set in stone. Supervisors said they hope the county will take in enough extra funds via the state lottery and internet sales tax, both approved by the state Legislature in 2018, to cover the excess cost of the road projects. "It's not out of the question to get these roads done, with all the different monies coming in over time," Board President John Montgomery of District 1 told The Dispatch. The five roads that will be the county's top priority are Jeff Peay, Cannon, Harrell, Rice and Poor House roads, one in each district, per a unanimous board vote at the June 1 meeting.
NAACP to hold Juneteenth celebration in Starkville
In normal times, Juneteenth is narrowly defined. It commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when the last of the remaining slaves in the U.S. were notified of their emancipation following the end of the Civil War two months earlier. These are not normal times, especially in the black communities across the nation and particularly in the South. "With all that's going on, I think we really needed something to lift people's spirits, to have a real celebration," Oktibbeha County NAACP President Yulanda Haddix said. "Juneteenth is when we celebrate our freedom and that's still the focus, but there are so many other things we are facing and those things have become a part of it, too." Saturday, the Oktibbeha NAACP chapter and the J.L. King Center will host its Juneteenth Celebration from 1-6 p.m. on the grounds of the center, located on the city's west side at 700 N. Long St. The celebration will include music, speakers, children's activities and food vendors.
Eight residents, three staffers test positive for COVID-19 at Montgomery Gardens
A week after it was announced an employee at a Starkville assisted-living facility tested positive for COVID-19, the senior center now says case numbers are climbing. Montgomery Gardens is the latest longterm care facility in Oktibbeha County to report new virus cases as the center's parent company, Americare, said on Wednesday that eight residents and three employees had tested positive after whole-house testing was conducted earlier this week. The facility now joins Starkville Manor, The Carrington Nursing Center and Rolling Hills Development Center as Oktibbeha longterm care facilities with confirmed cases among residents and staff. According to a news release, Montgomery Gardens established a separate COVID-19 care wing where positive patients have been moved in response to the rise in cases.
Oktibbeha jail employees and inmates test positive for COVID-19
The Oktibbeha County Jail implemented stronger safety protocols after a few inmates and employees tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the last couple weeks, head jailer Shawn Word told The Dispatch. The inmates that tested positive and do not show symptoms have been in quarantine for almost two weeks, and the ones that did show symptoms received medical treatment, Word said. Employees who tested positive were sent home for two weeks. Word said he did not know exactly how many inmates and employees tested positive but estimated about 30 people were tested. Since March, all inmates are screened for symptoms as soon as they are booked into the jail and are quarantined regardless of temperature or symptoms, Capt. Brett Watson said. They are moved to the general population if they do not show COVID-19 symptoms after 14 days, unless they are released before then.
Former Tribal First Lady Lena John Denson dies at 70
Lena John Denson, a former First Lady of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, died as a result of the COVID-19 virus, the Tribe announced last week. She was 70. Denson, the wife of former Miko (Tribal Chief) Beasley Denson, passed away Thursday, June 11 due to complications from the coronavirus. Chief Cyrus Ben issued a statement expressing his "deepest condolences." Mrs. Denson was described by a spokesman for the MBCI as an important figure in the history of the Tribe, as well as a woman of faith, love and compassion for her fellow Choctaw citizens. Denson, who lived in the Standing Pine community in Leake County, was best known for her three decades of service as the Director of the Elderly Nutrition Program at the Choctaw Elderly Activity Center and her devotion to her Christian faith.Denson was laid to rest following a private graveside funeral earlier this week. "During this time of the COVID pandemic," the statement said, "The Choctaw people have had to mourn many deaths. We once again mourn alongside the family and friends of Mrs. Lena."
Jobless claims total 1.5 million, worse than expected as economic pain persists
Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy. First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report's total was 58,000 lower than the previous week's 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000. The elevated claims number persists even as all states have reopened to varying degrees and nonfarm payrolls grew by 2.5 million in May. Before the coronavirus, the record for a single week was 695,000 in September 1982. "The 58K drop in claims this week is very disappointing, given that the level still remains so high; the worst single week after the crash of 2008 saw claims at 665K," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Markets reacted negatively to the claims disappointment, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down about 1% in early trading.
Speaker Philip Gunn discusses impact of COVID-19 on Mississippi's budget
As work continues at the capitol following the recent resumption of the 2020 legislative session, the focus is beginning to shift to the state budget. There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on Mississippi's economy. During an appearance on the Gallo Show, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn discussed what that means for the final days of FY2020 and the upcoming FY2021. The Speaker stated that before the pandemic hit, Mississippi was over $200 million above projections for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30. However, a drop of $245 million in April "wiped out all of the gains we had made." While revenue numbers were still down, the month of May wasn't as bad as originally thought. Overall, Gunn explained that Mississippi will likely end FY2020 around $47 million short. Gunn said lawmakers will have to find funds to cover those losses, and one solution could be pulling from Mississippi's 'rainy day' fund. As for FY2021, the Legislative Budget Committee adopted a revised recommendation from the Revenue Estimating Group which puts the state $107 million down entering the new fiscal year. While drawing up the budget, Gunn said that some cuts will likely have to be made.
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann assures near certain death of bill that would change state flag
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann broke precedent and assigned legislation that would change the state flag, which contains the Confederate battle emblem, to a little-used committee where it stands little chance of passing. Hosemann, who wields sole discretion to decide which committees to send legislation, assigned a resolution that would suspend rules for lawmakers to consider changing the state flag to the Senate Constitution committee, which is traditionally reserved for bills that would alter the state Constitution. The resolution, filed last week by 12 Senate Democrats, bears no relevance to the state Constitution because the state flag is written into state law, not the Constitution. Hosemann's decision to send the resolution to that committee signals almost certain death as just two of the committee's nine members have publicly supported changing the flag. Sen. Chris Johnson, R-Hattiesburg and chairman of the Senate Constitution committee, told Mississippi Today on Wednesday that he has no intent to call up the resolution for consideration. He says he favors the issue being decided by a vote of the people.
Bill proposes Mississippi center to boost rural telehealth
A bill headed to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves would establish a center focused on increasing training opportunities, business development and Telehealth services in the state's rural healthcare system. House Public Health Committee Chairman Sam Mims is a sponsor of House Bill 94. He said Wednesday that lawmakers hope federal coronavirus relief money can help fund the Mississippi Center for Rural Health Innovation. Health care providers have increasingly pivoted to using telemedicine instead of in-person appointments during the pandemic to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The House voted 112-6 to pass the bill, sending it to the governor. The new center would be in the state Health Department's Office of Rural Health.
Senate proposes $150 million to supply public school districts with internet devices
As education officials debate how and when to reopen public schools in the fall, lawmakers are currently working on legislation that would designate $150 million in federal stimulus funds to help Mississippi's public schools implement a digital learning plan. On Wednesday, Senate Education Committee Chair Dennis DeBar, R-Leaksville, introduced the "Equity in Distance Learning Act," which would appropriate funding to the state's public schools to pay for online learning and technology. The intent is for the Legislature to allocate $150 million from the state's $1.25 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act money, which would require lawmakers to pass a separate appropriations bill. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said he is concerned with Mississippi's lack of broadband access, particularly in rural areas. "Is there other legislation that will address this?" Bryan asked. "I have a fair number of people in my district, who if they have a device, would have to drive 12 to 15 miles to a McDonald's to use it."
White lawmaker likens abortion limits to civil rights issue
A white Republican lawmaker invoked the name of a black civil rights leader Wednesday as the Mississippi Senate advanced a bill to ban abortion based on the race, sex or genetic anomalies of a fetus. The bill is expected to go soon to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who favors more limits on abortion in a state that already has some of the strictest laws in the U.S. Supporters said the bill would prevent abortion for Down syndrome or other conditions. Opponents said it would unconstitutionally interfere with private medical decisions. Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall said the new restrictions would prevent race-based discrimination before birth. Fillingane, who is white, mentioned the late civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, an African American who was a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in the 1960s. Hamer underwent surgery in 1961 to have a tumor removed from her uterus. Without her permission, the white physician performed a hysterectomy on Hamer.
Legislature poised to continue streak of passing bills restricting abortions
The Mississippi Legislature is on the verge of passing a proposal to limit abortion rights for the third consecutive session. On Wednesday, the Senate passed by a 33-11 margin a bill that supporters say is intended to prevent abortions from being performed based on race, gender or potential physical disabilities. Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said the intent of the legislation is to ensure a fetus had the same civil rights as a person. "They should have the same protection in the womb," Fillingane said. But others claim the purpose of the bill is to try to limit a woman's right to an abortion. Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, offered an amendment that would have stripped out the language of the bill and inserted language proclaiming "a woman's reproductive decisions shall be made by the woman, her family, her physician and her God." That amendment was voted down by the Senate. Reproductive rights groups point to the irony of civil rights and health protections claims driving abortion restrictions, noting the lack of sexual education programs and contraceptive care, and poor health outcomes like high rates of infant and maternal mortality.
DeSoto County legislators spar over potential tax
A piece of legislation directed at the city of Olive Branch has caused some tension between two DeSoto County legislators. Senate Bill 2986 would enable a referendum for the citizens of Olive Branch to vote on during the November general election. If passed, a one percent tax would be levied on hotels and motels, with the revenue it generates going to tourism and park development. Sixty percent of voters would have to approve the measure for it to pass. When a bill goes through the legislature that is directed at a certain municipality, all members of the local committees have to approve it for the bill to be taken up in their respective chambers. SB 2986 was golden in the upper chamber, having been authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R-19) and co-authored by Sen. Michael McLendon (R-1) and Sen. David Parker (R-2). It was supported by the county's House members too, except for one hold out who derailed the whole process, Rep. Dana Criswell (R-6). "Because of his stance, I can get it passed through the Senate but can't get it taken up in the House," Blackwell said.
Senate committee halts Nancy Collins nomination for state ed board
The nomination of former Tupelo-area state senator Nancy Collins to serve on the state's Board of Education is likely dead. The Senate's Education Committee on Thursday morning voted to table the nomination of Collins. Gov. Tate Reeves had appointed Collins to serve on the governing board of the state's public education system in January during the waning days of his tenure as lieutenant governor. Collins was a Reeves ally during her tenure in the state Senate, and her nomination had been opposed this year by some education lobbying groups. Reeves unveiled the nomination in January, but in a letter backdated the nomination to the previously July. During Thursday's hearing, state Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, offered a motion to table the nomination of Collins, which was then backed by a majority of the committee on a voice vote. Bryant told the Daily Journal in a telephone interview Thursday he had some procedural concerns about the nomination of Collins. Bryan said he commended Collins for her civil involvement in her community, but he would prefer "a stronger advocate for public education serve on the state board of education."
Supreme Court rejects Trump efforts to end DACA
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump's attempt to end the DACA program, handing a major victory to about 650,000 immigrants -- most of whom who entered the U.S. illegally as children more than a decade ago. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's Democratic appointees in a 5-4 decision that found the Trump administration's move to wind down the Obama-era program for Dreamers lacked a sound legal basis. The decision does not foreclose future moves to end DACA, but it seems unlikely the administration will be able to put in place a new framework to end the program before November's presidential election. Roberts, who has emerged in recent years as a semi-regular swing justice on the court, wrote the majority opinion concluding that the decision to phase-out the program was unlawful because it did not consider all the options to rein in the program and failed to account for the interests of those who relied on it.
Trump administration eyes potential vaccine by January 2021
The Trump administration is pushing for a coronavirus vaccine to protect some Americans by January 2021, but researchers and Democratic lawmakers are concerned about outside pressure on the complex process. The initiative, known as Operation Warp Speed, is an effort by the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services to develop vaccines and drugs, fueled by at least $10 billion Congress provided for that purpose under the roughly $2 trillion March coronavirus relief package (PL 116-136). A list of vaccine candidates will be winnowed from 14 to seven that will advance to early clinical trials in the coming weeks, senior administration officials said during a background briefing with reporters Tuesday. Three to five candidates will then benefit from hundreds of millions in taxpayer spending on new U.S. pharmaceutical plants to manufacture and distribute them. But some researchers worry the science could be manipulated or misrepresented for political aims.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi orders removal of Confederate portraits from Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she is ordering the removal from the Capitol of portraits honoring four previous House speakers who served in the Confederacy. In a letter to the House clerk, Pelosi requested the immediate removal of portraits depicting former speakers Robert Hunter of Virginia, James Orr of South Carolina and Howell Cobb and Charles Crisp, both of Georgia. Calling the halls of Congress "the very heart of our democracy,″ Pelosi said, "There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy.″ Earlier this month, Pelosi urged the removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol and the renaming of U.S. military bases that honor Confederate Army officers.
Confederate statue to be moved from central spot at Ole Miss
A Confederate monument will be moved from a prominent spot at the University of Mississippi to a Civil War cemetery in a secluded part of the Oxford campus. The state college board met Thursday and approved a proposal to move the monument. No timeline was given for the move. The estimated cost of the move is $1.2 million, which will be paid with private donations, not public money, the board said. The decision comes amid widespread debate over Confederate symbols as people across the U.S. and in other countries are protesting racism and police violence against African Americans. The University of Mississippi has worked for more than 20 years to distance itself from Confederate imagery, often amid resistance from tradition-bound donors and alumni. The nickname for athletic teams remains the Rebels, but the university retired its Colonel Reb mascot in 2003 amid criticism that the bearded old man looked like a plantation owner. In 1997, administrators banned sticks in the football stadium, which largely stopped people from waving Confederate battle flags. The marching band no longer plays "Dixie."
IHL Board approves University of Mississippi's Confederate statue relocation plan
The Confederate statue that stood in the shadow of the University of Mississippi Lyceum for the past 114 years will soon be moved. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees approved the University's relocation plan to move the statue to the Confederate cemetery behind C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum. The request was approved as part of the consent agenda during the Board's monthly meeting in Jackson on Thursday. The privately funded plan will cost over $1.1 million and will cover disassembling, transporting and reassembling the statue in its new location. Once placed in its new location in the cemetery, plans include a brick path surrounded by trees with lighting, as well as a new marker to recognize the men from Lafayette County who served in the Union Army as part of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. New headstones will be placed in the cemetery to offer remembrance for those buried on the grounds, along with a stone path to the existing marker in the cemetery.
IHL approves relocation of Confederate monument on Ole Miss campus
The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees voted on Thursday morning to approve the University of Mississippi's request to relocate the Confederate monument from its prominent location in the Circle on University Avenue to the campus cemetery. Commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the 29-foot monument has stood at the center of the Ole Miss campus since 1906, but the university will now move it to the University Cemetery near the Tad Smith Coliseum. "The Board reviewed the detailed plans for the new site, considered events on college campuses across the South involving Confederate monuments, and listened to the University's various constituency groups," Board President Ford Dye said. "The board subsequently determined relocating the Confederate statue to be most appropriate for Ole Miss moving forward." General contractor for the relocation project is McCarty King Construction, which is based in Tupelo.
Board of Trustees approves U. of Mississippi's request to relocate Confederate monument
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning approved the University of Mississippi's request to relocate the Confederate Monument from its current campus location, at the front of the Circle on University Avenue, to the University Cemetery, which is located on campus on Coliseum Loop, at its meeting held today in Jackson. "The Board of Trustees approved the request from the Chancellor of the University of Mississippi," said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. "He and his team devoted considerable time and attention to developing a thoughtful plan to relocate its Confederate Monument to the University Cemetery." Action on this item was tabled at the January Board meeting, pending review of a progress report from the University of Mississippi (UM) regarding the recommendations from the 2017 contextualization report. UM provided the requested information, including the status of proposed improvements to the cemetery on the UM campus. Review of the proposed cemetery improvements was prudent in the Board of Trustees' due diligence in assessing the appropriateness of the relocation site, as required by law.
After year and a half long process, IHL votes to relocate confederate statue on Ole Miss campus
The confederate statue on the University of Mississippi campus will be relocated, a year and a half after students passed a resolution decrying the monument. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning voted to approve the measure Thursday morning. The statue will be moved from its current location near the university's administration building to the cemetery located on campus. It was erected in 1906, more than 40 years after the end of the Civil War. Amid public outcry and debate, confederate statues around the country have toppled in recent weeks. Some, like the statue on the Ole Miss campus are being taken down by officials while others are coming down at the hands of protesters. In February 2019, the Associated Student Body Senate for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement passed a resolution saying, "Confederate ideology directly violates the tenets of the university creed that supports fairness, civility, and respect for the dignity of each person."
U. of Mississippi to relocate Confederate monument
The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning has voted to relocate the Confederate monument at the University of Mississippi. "The Board reviewed the detailed plans for the new site, considered events on college campuses across the South involving Confederate monuments, and listened to the University's various constituency groups. The Board subsequently determined relocating the Confederate statue to be most appropriate for Ole Miss moving forward," said Ford Dye, board president, in a press release sent out by IHL. The board's vote happened in the wake of national and statewide protests demanding racial equality, which includes ending the exaltation of Confederate iconography. In 2019, a multiracial, bipartisan group of students engineered a plan to move the Confederate statue from its prominent place on campus to the campus cemetery, where Confederate soldiers are buried.
Oxford discovers spike in COVID-19 cases among Ole Miss students
Mississippi universities plan to reopen in the fall, but there's a big unknown as they assess their risks. And it's highlighted with a new spike in cases among Ole Miss students. When a university student tests positive for COVID-19, it gets reported as a case for their permanent county of residence... not that college town. So, how do universities plan for mitigating the risks when students return if they don't have a full picture? "If they get tested at a clinic in town, the only way we'd know that is if they picked up the phone and called us," explained Dr. Noel Wilkin, University of Mississippi Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. And that's what the University of Mississippi is asking it's faculty, staff and students to do, self-report regardless of where they're tested. Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill was alerted last week to a rise in student cases by President and Family Nurse Practitioner at Ole Town Med, Laura Hill. "We had a few students that came up here because they had been around another student who was positive," said Hill. "So, we started testing anyone who had come into contact, symptoms or not. Ninety-percent of the positives we've been getting have been completely asymptomatic." Tannehill checked with three other clinics in town and found that 162 Ole Miss students had tested positive in those four locations since June 1. And social gatherings may be the point of transmission.
MSDH investigating reported spike in COVID-19 cases in UM students
The Mississippi State Department of Health is looking into a possible spike in COVID-19 cases in Lafayette County. This comes after Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill stated that Since June 1, there have been at least 162 positive cases among University of Mississippi students who do not have a Lafayette County address but are residing in the county during summer months. Those cases do not get reported among the rest of the Lafayette County cases, per MSDH. The EAGLE contacted MSDH on Wednesday to see if they were planning to alter their reporting methods of positive cases in college towns throughout Mississippi once the 2020-21 school year begins in August. The protocol for reporting positive cases in home counties and states will continue, per a statement from state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. However, MSDH is going to "continue to look into" the report of such a high number of positive cases among students. The University also sent out a letter to all fraternities and sororities, asking them to not hold anymore "Rush parties," or face the penalty of social probation for the entire upcoming school year.
Summer enrollment spikes at Meridian Community College
Summer enrollment at Meridian Community College is at the highest it has ever been in the history of the school. MCC is experiencing a 90% increase in summer enrollment as over 1900 students have enrolled in summer learning. MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said he believes students are using the summer to get ahead in their studies. "We see a lot of students who like to take advantage of that and then the other thing that I think is important is just fairly recently in the last couple of years, students who qualify for Pell Grants can also use that to help pay for summer school," said Huebner. "Now there's actually a special Pell Grant designated for summer." MCC is currently limiting its summer courses to online platforms. Director of E-Learning Marie Roberts says it's a priority to ensure that the growing number of summer students can navigate their online courses with ease. As the school continues in its highest summer term enrollment since 2010, Huebner says the school is also preparing for the fall term when students are expected to return to campus physically.
How Auburn plans to reopen campus in the fall
The Auburn University Senate met on Tuesday afternoon over Zoom to speak about the fall 2020 semester and how recent events are impacting campus. Some discussion focused on the University's revised fall academic calendar, as well as President Jay Gogue's hopes at better resolving 'racial inequities' on campus, but much of the meeting covered how the University plans to ensure safe health practices and social distancing when students and faculty return en masse. One of the main tools that Auburn will be implementing for the fall semester in order to monitor the health of students is a contact-tracing, symptom-tracking app which is being developed in conjunction with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and other higher education institutions in Alabama. This app will require students to answer questions about their symptoms, as well as take their temperature each day, according to Provost Bill Hardgrave. All students will be asked to bring a thermometer with them when they come back to campus for this purpose.
No tuition hike at U. of West Alabama
For the third year in a row, there will be no tuition hikes at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. The tuition freeze was part of the fiscal year 2021 budget approved by the UWA Board of Trustees June 1. This year's budget for the school was just over $80 million. In a time when colleges and universities face uncertain enrollment numbers and revenues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, school president Dr. Ken Tucker says the tuition freeze marks UWA's commitment to provide an affordable education. "We have an excellent faculty and staff that work really hard to keep costs as low as possible. And we operate as efficiently and effectively as possible with the goal of keeping our cost as affordable as possible, so that our students will be able to come to the university and get the knowledge and skills and ability to be successful, not only academically while they're here, but the rest of their lives in their chosen career," Tucker said.
U. of Arkansas System board delays mask-rule proposal
A proposal to require people to wear masks on University of Arkansas System campus' common spaces was scuttled Wednesday after a trustee said he was concerned the rule would prevent the Razorbacks football team -- and other sports teams -- from practicing. Trustees passed over the item with the intention of revisiting it at their next meeting in July. For several minutes, trustees discussed whether the resolution, as written, should cover campus visitors and if it should be considered the bare minimum requirement for campuses, in case a chancellor wanted to impose more stringent requirements. But consideration of the proposal suddenly stopped after Board of Trustees Chairman John Goodson said it threatened schools' plans to resume athletics. "If we passed this, I'm not sure our football team could practice," he said. The resolution wasn't formally tabled but was left to be tweaked by system administration to cover campus visitors, make the mask requirements minimum requirements and to add language that would allow student-athletes to practice contact sports. It was unclear Wednesday afternoon how the resolution would be altered, if student-athletes would be required to wear masks at all during play, or whether student-athletes could end up at greater risk for contracting the virus than other students based on any language added.
LSU, Louisiana schools refunding $24 million to students because of coronavirus shutdown
Louisiana colleges and universities are refunding at least $24 million to students because the academic year was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Wednesday. LSU tops the list, returning $4.4 million. Most of the refunds cover charges for housing, which students had to vacate about two months before the scheduled end of the school year. Meal plans are also covered in some of the refunds. Colleges and universities later got $147 million from the $2.2 trillion federal rescue bill, including $19 million for LSU. Those funds were mostly allocated on the basis of how many students were getting Pell grants, which represent those most in need of financial assistance. Ernie Ballard, a spokesman for LSU, said in an email that the $4.4 million being refunded from the Baton Rouge campus covers both housing and meal charges. "For the housing and meal plan credits, they were first applied to any outstanding amounts owed to LSU," Ballard said.
UF Accent Speakers Bureau, BSU and PSU host the founders of #BlackLivesMatter
Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi will speak June 25 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the UF Student Government Accent Speakers Bureau's virtual summer series. The free show will be held on Microsoft Teams, a virtual meeting program that hosts up to 10,000 participants at a time. Any student or faculty member with a valid UF email address can register for the event. Cullors, Garza and Tometi will discuss racial injustice, including problems highlighted in recent protests following George Floyd's murder, and how the Black Lives Matter movement began, according to Accent Chair Steven Wolf said. He said Cullors and Garza, who openly identify as queer activists, will talk about the role they have played as Black queer leaders. UF Black Student Union, Pride Student Union and Accent have organized the event together, according to the event press release. The Alligator requested the guest speaker's contracts, but Wolf declined to comment on how much the speakers will be paid.
$20M grant will help make Oak Ridge Institute one of the top research facilities worldwide
The Oak Ridge Institute, in partnership with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, announced today a $20 million federal grant designed to make the institute one of the world's premier research centers. The grant from the Department of Energy is the foundation of $100 million the institute is seeking to raise from public and private contributors. The Oak Ridge Institute will focus on advancing research in several areas, including materials science, artificial intelligence and data sciences. It will expand graduate programs at UT and create more opportunities for UT students and faculty to conduct groundbreaking research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Oak Ridge is going to lead us into the technological future," U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said. The funding is a direct result of efforts by Sen. Lamar Alexander, who outlined in the latest appropriations bill a competitive process for securing the federal dollars for workforce training. The training had to be centered on a partnership between labs that had a connection to a land grant research university, like UT.
Texas A&M will form commission to consider future of Sul Ross statue
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young will form a commission to address the future of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue on campus. In an announcement to the campus community on Wednesday, Young said a separate task force will study the university's race relations. "It is time for a unified approach on how we address the representation of people who contributed to Texas A&M throughout our history and how we want to shape the expectations and behavior of our community to stand firmly against racism," his statement reads. Young said he met with System Chancellor John Sharp to discuss racism on campus. The discussion, he said, addressed social media posts and emails from current and former students about racism they faced in Aggieland, and the presence of the Ross statue in front of the Academic Building. Ross was a president of A&M and member of the Confederacy. Young said his conversation with Sharp included "how we address the historical context of its presence and its symbolism to the entire campus community."
U. of Missouri curators to talk merging president, chancellor roles
A discussion by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators on Friday about the system's organization likely will advance consideration of permanently combining system president and University of Missouri chancellor. The item is listed as an information item on the agenda. Curators approved University of Missouri System President Mun Choi as MU chancellor on an interim basis after Chancellor Alexander Cartwright left to lead the University of Central Florida. "This is going to be further discussion of the administrative organizational structure of the University of Missouri System that began when they appointed Mun Choi as interim chancellor," said MU and UM System spokesman Christian Basi about the agenda item. The discussion will include permanently combining the positions, Basi said. "It was going to be a few months of exploration," Basi said. "That's what I believe is the plan." There's not a timeline for a decision, he said. "There's plenty of different ways this could go," Basi said.
U. of Missouri to spread out August move-in process due to COVID restrictions
The University of Missouri is revamping the fall semester's campus move-in process, as COVID-19 forces further health and safety precautions. Move-in for incoming students will take place over eight days, Aug. 12-19, according to an email newsletter sent to MU families Tuesday evening. Returning students will move in Aug. 20-23. Students participating in certain MU programs, such as Panhellenic Association's sorority recruitment, will move in Aug. 12-14. Students will have a 90-minute move-in interval, according to the email. These intervals, which run from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., will be selected in advance via a form that MU will send on July 1. The longer move-in period and structured intervals are a departure from tradition, in which students and families generally had more leniency in when they arrived for move-in and how long the process would take.
U. of Memphis, Rhodes forego ACT, SAT testing requirements for upcoming applicants
Memphis colleges are among the growing chorus of others nationwide who are not requiring upcoming applicants to submit scores for the SAT or ACT. In March, Rhodes College announced it would not require the test scores of students who would enter for the next three years, in the fall of 2021, 2022 and 2023. The University of Memphis announced Wednesday it would also be text-flexible for students applying to the university for the fall of 2021. Both said they would review the policy and then announce whether it would continue in future years. At U of M, freshman applicants for the fall 2021 year who submit an official GPA, but were unable to take the ACT or SAT will be reviewed holistically, the university said. "Regardless of the review method used, we will under no circumstances admit a student who we do not think can be successful at the U of M," Eric Stokes, director of admissions and orientation at U of M said in a statement. "Test-flexible does not mean we disregard standardized test scores, as we acknowledge the value added by them. It only means that we recognize there are other factors that contribute to the prediction of college success."
How Clemson is navigating and adjusting its return-to-campus plan for faculty, sports
Clemson officials were hopeful that at this point the university would be in Phase II of its three-phase plan to returning in the fall, but with COVID-19 numbers in South Carolina reaching all-time highs in the past week, that is not the case. However, from June 7 to June 14, South Carolina saw an average of 619 new cases per day. From mid-April to mid-May, health officials saw an average of about 166 cases per day. The percentage of positive tests is also on the rise as seven of the last eight days have seen percent of positive tests rise above 10%. At its lowest point, the percent of positive tests fell between 2-4% on average. "We haven't brought any additional personnel back onto campus, and when we do so we will give ample notice and we'll do so deliberately," Clemson Associate VP for Strategic Communications Joe Galbraith told The State. In broad terms, Phase II involves allowing more faculty and staff on campus. And Phase III would be the final time frame, the "new normal" with on-campus instruction and activities resuming. Galbraith added that Clemson is "absolutely" still planning to have classes in person this fall.
Study: Some things matter more than class size when it comes to student success
There is now a body of literature questioning the link between small class size and student success. A new study of interactions between different class sizes and more than a dozen other variables within Temple University's general education program further supports the "small ain't all" argument. It encourages educational researchers to look deeper at the effect of class size on student success, and to the effect of peers as well as teaching methods, especially in an era of constrained resources. The study also has some hidden implications for COVID-19-era instruction, since professors teaching remotely or in hybrid models arguably have more flexibility with respect to class size. "In terms of student race and gender, the findings for underrepresented groups contrast with previous research, which has found that smaller class sizes correlate with improved academic outcomes," states the new study, published in Educational Researcher. That's probably because "the effect of class size is far more nuanced than historically discussed."
Covid Obstacles Abound, but Colleges Can Successfully Recruit for Fall 2021
Recruiting for the fall of 2021 poses a thicket of problems. It's hard for students to get to know colleges when Covid-19 prevents them from visiting campuses or learning about them at admissions fairs. And it's hard for colleges to get to know students when canceled or delayed standardized tests, disrupted academics, and suspended sports and other activities thin the files on their achievement, aptitude, and interests. Yet colleges' financial stability, even survival, depends on robust recruiting. A new Chronicle report and a just-released survey of rising high-school seniors offer some strategies to make the best of a chaotic situation. Nearly 1,600 rising high-school seniors responded to the survey, which was conducted by Carnegie Dartlet, a marketing and communications company. These results and other data suggest that this group of students hungers for real, not virtual, experience and seeks a sense of where they'll fit in on college campuses and how daily life there will feel. That will require colleges to couple cutting-edge technology with old-fashioned cold calls and customized recruitment.
Study Examines How Spring Break Spread COVID-19
College students who traveled to popular spring break destinations likely contributed to the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses and in surrounding communities, a recent study suggests. Looking at university vacation dates, cellphone data and reported COVID-19 cases, researchers propose that students who flew to New York City or Florida for spring break contributed more to COVID-19 spread than the average student. "To inform the immediate policy discussion, our results imply that universities can play an important role in containing further COVID-19 spread," wrote the study authors. "Our results suggest that reducing long-distance student travel can reduce COVID-19 spread both within the university and for higher-risk individuals in the surrounding county." The research paper, authored by economists Daniel Mangrum at Vanderbilt University and Paul Niekamp at Ball State University, was published on SSRN in late May. SSRN is an open-access preprint platform for the social sciences and humanities. Papers published on SSRN often reflect early-stage research that has not yet been peer reviewed.
UNC-Chapel Hill Trustees Lift 16-Year Moratorium On Renaming Campus Buildings
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to lift its 16-year moratorium on the renaming of campus buildings. "Many people have realized it's important to move forward with some of these issues. And that's what we intend to do on this campus," said Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stevens, as NPR member station WUNC reports. "It's a moment of leadership. It's time to do it." The freeze on renaming any campus buildings, monuments, memorials and landscapes was implemented by the board in 2015, after it voted to change the name of a classroom building named for William Saunders, reputedly a Ku Klux Klan leader. The board said at the time that the 16-year moratorium would give the university time "develop new education initiatives and evaluate their effectiveness", according to an article in the Carolina Alumni Review. Even then, some questioned why 16 years were needed.
More support needed at US universities to stop minorities leaving science
With just 10% of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) faculty at US universities coming from under-represented backgrounds, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) is sounding the alarm. The organisation says that too many members of minority groups are leaving science at pivotal stages along the road to becoming a professor. Although many universities have robust programmes to support minority students during their undergraduate and graduate careers, the report concludes that such support often diminishes at the postdoctoral and early career stages. It makes several recommendations, including that higher education leaders should develop more rigorous programmes to strengthen later parts of the pathway, focusing in particular on the transition from graduate student to faculty or postdoc roles, as well as early career support for faculty. The APLU further calls on policymakers to support efforts to capture and track student data to better understand the progress of individuals through the 'Stem ecosystem'.
In Dire Times, Asking Donors to 'Unrestrict' Their Gifts
What's the use of a fat endowment, or even a not-so-fat one, if you don't tap into it when times are most dire? That question comes up whenever colleges face financial challenges and start making cuts, as dozens have already done this year. Often the answer is reflexive: An endowment isn't a big slush fund but a collection of many smaller funds, most of which are donor-restricted for specific purposes. Also, endowments are meant to produce income in perpetuity, and drawing on them too deeply could undermine that design. But this might be the year that more colleges answer the endowment question differently, especially in the wake of the Ford Foundation's announcement that it will borrow $1 billion to increase its payouts. The big kids in higher ed could follow the lead of Ford and a few other foundations and borrow, too. Princeton ($500 million), Stanford ($750 million), and Yale ($1.5 billion) already are. Even more of them could pursue an idea proposed by Buck Goldstein at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: that colleges begin to systematically ask their donors to "opt in to a program where all constraints on endowment and contributions would be suspended during the pandemic."

Mississippi State, Washington State to have home-and-home football series
Calling all young Bulldogs and Wildcats. Mississippi State and Washington State have agreed to a home-and-home football series during the 2030 and 2031 football seasons, the schools announced Wednesday. For those curious, some of the kids who will suit up and play in those games have not turned 10 yet. Mike Leach has yet to coach a game for Mississippi State, too. He took the head coaching job in Starkville in January. If he's still around a decade from now, he'll have a chance to coach against the program fled this past winter. Leach was Washington State's head coach for eight years before arriving at Mississippi State. Leach will be 69 when the first of two games between Mississippi State and Washington State takes place at Davis wade Stadium on Aug. 31, 2030. He'll be 70 when the cats and dogs get together in Pullman, Washington, on Aug. 30, 2031. As for the upcoming season, Mississippi State is still scheduled to open the year in Starkville against New Mexico on Sept. 5. The amount of fans allowed to file into Davis Wade Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic has yet to be determined.
Mississippi State sets home-and-home series with Washington State
Mississippi State has scheduled a future home-and-home series with Mike Leach's former employer. In 2030, the Bulldogs will welcome Washington State to Starkville before making the return trip to Pullman in 2031. Leach led the Cougars for eight seasons before brining his 'air-raid' offense to Mississippi State. "We're thrilled to add another home-and-home series against a quality opponent and institution like Washington State to our future schedules," MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. "These will be the first-ever meetings between the two programs and should be an exciting opportunity and experience for our student-athletes and fans." While a lot can happen over the course of a decade, Leach taking on his former team would add intrigue to the future matchup.
Mississippi State football schedules future home-and-home series with Washington State
Mike Leach is returning to Pullman. Sort of. Sources confirmed to The Dispatch Wednesday that Mississippi State and Washington State -- Leach's former employer -- have agreed to a home-and-home series for the 2030 and 2031 seasons. An official announcement was made later Wednesday afternoon. "We're thrilled to add another home-and-home series against a quality opponent and institution like Washington State to our future schedules," MSU Athletic Director John Cohen said in a news release. "These will be the first-ever meetings between the two programs and should be an exciting opportunity and experience for our student-athletes and fans." The first game of the series will be held Aug. 31, 2030 in Starkville, while the return trip to Pullman will occur on Aug. 30, 2031. During his eight seasons at Washington State, Leach compiled a 55-47 record, including an 11-win season during the 2018 campaign. He also took the Cougars to six bowl games over that span. MSU will also face Pac-12 opponents during the 2022-23 and 2024-25 seasons when they will face Arizona and Arizona St., respectively.
Bulldogs, Cougars schedule football series
Mississippi State announced a home-and-home football series with Washington State on Wednesday afternoon. It won't be soon. The series will take place in 2030 and 2031. Mississippi State will host WSU on Aug. 31, 2030, then the Bulldogs will travel to Pullman, Washington, on Aug. 30, 2031. It will be the first meetings between the two programs. Mississippi State has not played a Pac-12 opponent since the Bulldogs hosted Oregon in 2003. MSU also has future series announced with Pac-12 opponents Arizona in 2022-2023 and Arizona State in 2024-2025. New MSU head coach Mike Leach spent eight seasons at the helm of Washington State before taking the job in Starkville. He helped lead the Cougars to 55-47 overall record and a 36-36 conference record.
Washington State, Mississippi State to play home-and-home in football
If Nick Rolovich and Mike Leach can wait a decade, they've got a heckuva matchup in store. Washington State announced Wednesday it has scheduled a home-and-home football series against Mississippi State for the 2030 and 2031 seasons, the latter game marking the Cougars' first nonleague home date with a Southeastern Conference opponent. Leach took the Mississippi State coaching reins in January after an eight-year tenure at WSU, which then hired Rolovich as his replacement. "To create a matchup between the Pac-12 and the SEC is always great for our league," WSU athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement, "and the series exemplifies our commitment to schedule top nonconference opponents." WSU president Kirk Schulz spent nine years at Mississippi State in various roles from 2001-09, including vice president for research and economic development.
Coronavirus cancels Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza and Mississippi Outdoor Expo
Coronavirus has affected the lives of almost everyone in Mississippi and with major changes for two wildlife expositions, the sportsmen and sportswomen in Mississippi are no exception. Ashlee Smith, chief executive officer of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation said the conservation organization will not hold its traditional Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza due to COVID-19 response guidelines requiring events at convention centers to be limited to 25% of capacity with seating requirements. "These guidelines, coupled with the events of the 2019 boycott, have led us to the difficult decision that we need to take a 'time out' from our traditional extravaganza format," Smith said. "We do plan to host some historic components of the extravaganza live in an outside setting, if the CDC guidelines on COVID allow. The cause of the boycott Ellis referred to was the organization's one-time position against the Yazoo Backwater Pumps. Another event, the Mississippi Outdoor Expo scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2 at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, also fell victim to the pandemic. Organized by the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, the event might have been the largest of its kind of the state. Don Brazil, CEO of the foundation, said the event focused on agriculture, hunting and fishing and would have had a very big footprint.
Coronavirus Liability Waivers Raise Questions As College Athletes Return to Campus
Donald Trump's campaign for reelection has something in common with the NCAA's campaign for football's return: waivers. Both are requiring their constituents to sign liability documents to participate in their events. Those attending Trump's rally in Oklahoma on Saturday, the first since March, must agree to a waiver that absolves the campaign of liability if supporters become ill. Meanwhile, college athletes across the nation, while returning to their campuses for workouts, are agreeing to similar disclaimers that protect universities from lawsuits if players contract the coronavirus. But there's a fundamental difference, says Michael Leroy, a professor in the Illinois College of Law. "A 50-year old man who says, 'I'm going to the rally,' that's a different individual than the 18-year old conflicted about returning who's afraid to speak up," he says. "They're not in the same category both in terms of their willingness but also their age and sophistication." Two weeks after the first college football programs welcomed back athletes for voluntary workouts, a couple of trends have emerged: (1) athletes are testing positive for the virus, many of them asymptomatic; and (2) athletes, without legal representation, are agreeing to waive their legal rights.
U. of Arkansas waiver doesn't mention covid-19
The University of Arkansas athletic department is requiring returning athletes to sign a standard waiver form releasing the university from liability regarding injuries or other harm, though the language in the waiver is not specific to the coronavirus as it has been with some other institutions. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette requested and received a copy of the 10 pages of athlete release forms as well as a six-page covid-19 daily symptom screening check list Wednesday. Athletes are required to fill out the symptom screening list, which is an online program, on a daily basis. Razorback athletes began screenings in early June to set the stage for the June 8 reopening of a limited number of weight rooms and training rooms on campus. Athlete pledges and waivers designed to raise awareness of the coronavirus pandemic, and to encourage athletes to accept responsibility for their hygiene and practices to prevent the spread of the virus have been making headlines in recent days.
U. of Alabama athletics outlines COVID procedures
The University of Alabama released a checklist of its Covid-19 protocols on Tuesday, outlining procedures in place as student-athletes return to the UA athletic facilities to prepare for the 2020-21 seasons. The checklist came in response to media inquiries for numerous outlets, including The Tuscaloosa News and among others. UA did not release specifics on the number of positive tests, citing federal privacy laws. However, the UA release stated that "we expect to have positive COVID-19 cases among our student-athletes and have plans in place to appropriately handle those situations." "In sum, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is the top priority," the release concluded. "While privacy laws prevent us from sharing personal health information about our student-athletes, we expect to have positive COVID-19 cases among our student-athletes and have plans in place to appropriately handle those situations."
AD Ross Bjork: Number of Texas A&M student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19 has increased
As the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has spiked in the Brazos Valley over the last several days, the Texas A&M athletics department has not been immune. A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork told The Eagle Wednesday that the number of positive cases among A&M's student-athletes has increased, as the athletic department expected. Bjork declined to give the exact number of positive tests, saying the department is following the reporting guidelines of the Brazos County Health District. "We aren't at liberty to give exact numbers, and we're following how [the health district] reports their numbers," Bjork said in a text message. "They don't give breakdowns on groups of cases." Wednesday, the Brazos County Health District reported the highest single-day total of new cases in the county since the beginning of the pandemic with 145, moving the total number of cases over 1,000. Of the 1,025 cases, 282 are people in their 20s, and 91 are ages 15 to 19. Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan told The Eagle last week that all positive cases of A&M students will be reported in the health district's numbers.
Memphis unveils new indoor football practice facility in virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony
After nearly a decade of fundraising and delays, Memphis unveiled its long-awaited indoor football practice facility Wednesday. Memphis president David Rudd, along with football coach Ryan Silverfield, senior linebacker JJ Russell, athletic director Laird Veatch and Board of Trustees member Cato Johnson cut the ribbon in a private ceremony shared on Twitter through the Memphis football page. The $11.2 million facility, which is 78,000 square feet, is attached to the back of the Billy J. Murphy football complex and features NFL-level field turf. The field has been named the Hardin Family Field. It helps complete the turnaround of the Memphis program from where it was 10 years ago. The Tigers were coming off a 2-10 season in 2009 and lacked facilities to compete with rival schools. The Tigers finished the 2019 season ranked No. 17 following a 12-win campaign, their first outright AAC championship and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. "Because we have evolved to where we are now a Top 25 program, this is really about leveling the playing field," Veatch said. "Our competitors, the folks we are recruiting against and playing against, have facilities like this. It's not just about recruiting, it's about being able to compete in ways we maybe haven't been able to before."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to introduce bill allowing NCAA athletes to make money from name, likeness
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will introduce a bill Thursday that would force the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to change its rules regarding allowing college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. Rubio's bill would require the NCAA to establish new guidelines by June 30, 2021 and would also provide language to protect the group from lawsuits. "The only people on campus that are prohibited from benefiting from their name, their image and their likeness are student-athletes," Rubio said in a statement to USA Today, which was the first to report on the bill. "And that's just not a sustainable position ... given the fact that many of these college athletic endeavors are now multi-billion-dollar industries that are generating a lot of revenue for corporate sponsors and for university programs. "This is not an effort to harm college athletics," he continued. "Frankly, it's an effort to save it from what I think is going to become completely unmanageable if it's not handled uniformly across the board." Rubio said it was necessary to have a federal law regarding compensating athletes so that all students would be treated equally.
First Cancellations Emerge for Major College Football
Four college football games involving historically black colleges and universities have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, making them the first casualties of major college football leading up to a season that appears tenuous just over two months before its scheduled kickoff. Two neutral-site games -- Southern University versus Tennessee State in Detroit on Sept. 5 and Jackson State versus Tennessee State a week later in Memphis -- have been canceled along with Southern's home game on Sept. 12 against Florida A&M. Jackson State also was forced to cancel its Sept. 5 season opener against Langston University, because Langston and other N.A.I.A. schools have been prohibited from playing before Sept. 12. Whether these cancellations are forerunners to more around the country -- and at more powerful football programs -- is uncertain, but they come as schools around the country are grappling with how to keep Covid-19 outbreaks from occurring as they push toward a season. Dozens of games have already been canceled at the lower levels of college football with Division II schools placing a 10-game limit on the season, and N.A.I.A. pushing its start date back two weeks, but these games are the first at the Division I level to be quashed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: Football players need a 'bubble,' season 'may not happen' with coronavirus second wave
The returns of the NBA, WNBA, MLS, and NWSL amid the COVID pandemic are predicated around forming a "bubble" environment for their respective leagues. The NFL is planning to play its 2020 season, however, with a normal travel schedule and teams using their home stadiums. That may present an issue, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci. "Unless players are essentially in a bubble -- insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day -- it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall," Fauci told CNN on Thursday. He also expressed pessimism for a full season if a second wave of the coronavirus spreads during the fall. "If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year," he told CNN.

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