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J. Thomas McNamara

   The NCAA has made it clear that unless college campuses are open to the entire student body in the fall, there are no plans to risk the health of student-athletes for the sake of sports.
   President Mark Emmert plainly said Friday night that the NCAA will not play fall sports if the coronaviruspandemic forces schools to close campuses in the coming months.
   “College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college [campuses] open and having students on them,” Emmert said, according to the NCAA’s Twitter.  “You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body.”
   Conferences across the nation have been at odds over whether or not they will play fall sports if classes are online-only.
   Emmert said Friday that conditions for returning to campus will not be as strict but student safety will be a must.
   “That doesn’t mean [schools have] to be up and running in the full normal model, but you’ve got to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students,” Emmert said. “So, if a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”
   It is conceivable that leagues would play with some members not participating.

I will have more on this developing in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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