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NCAA schools face big agenda to develop player pay rules

With help from Nicole Gaudiano and Bianca Quilantan

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— College athletes could earn money from the use of their name, image and likeness under a narrow NCAA proposal unveiled Wednesday.

— Admissions counselors are worried about critical college placement exams set to be taken at home because of the coronavirus.

Add a group of major Southern schools to the list of campuses planning to re-start operations in the fall semester.

GOOD MORNING. IT’S THURSDAY, APRIL 30. Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir may be the first effective coronavirus treatment. Economists from a broad range of ideological backgrounds are encouraging Congress to keep spending to combat catastrophic job losses prompted by the outbreak.

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NCAA MEMBER SCHOOLS FACE A BIG TASK IN THE COMING MONTHS: crafting potential rules to govern how college athletes can earn unlimited amounts of money from endorsement deals, sports camps or other business agreements.

Compliance officers may need to get schooled on what their new duties might entail, including work to educate athletes on how sponsorship deals might create taxable income or affect Pell Grants. It’s uncertain how deep-pocketed boosters can get involved.

This much is clear: The NCAA will continue to lobby Congress for major protections to its business model. Here’s more on the association’s plan, and its asks from legislators.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS COUNSELORS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SECURITY AND RELIABILITY of Advanced Placement exams that will be taken at home in the coming weeks, as well as SAT and ACT exams that might be taken online this fall if schools remain closed.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling acknowledged the coronavirus has disrupted college admissions. But the counselors, who work with students, emphasized how little is known about the validity of admission test scores that come from home-based tests. They also said they’re worried about the effect on low-income or first-generation students, and students with disabilities. Bianca has the story.

A TRIO OF SOUTHERN COLLEGE GIANTS plans to bring students back to campus in the fall, adding to a growing list of institutions looking ahead to re-starting classes as the novel coronavirus continues to rage.

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead said his school is “anticipating a resumption of in-person instruction” for the fall semester in August. “However, I would emphasize that this situation remains a fluid one, as the (University System of Georgia) monitors developments related to COVID-19 and receives counsel from state public health officials,” Morehead said in a letter to campus.

Bill Roper, interim president of the University of North Carolina system, said school chancellors will be able to consider staggered or shortened academic calendars — while other schools might cut down student headcounts in classrooms and campus housing. “I anticipate that operations at each institution will not be the ‘normal’ we were all used to prior to COVID-19,” he wrote.

The University of Alabama system is also planning to bring back students in the fall, Chancellor Finis E. St. John IV told AL.com. “We are expecting to have a fall semester at all of our universities,” St. John told the news outlet in an interview on Wednesday. “We understand that things could happen that make it impossible, but that’s what we are planning for at this time.”

‘MORE IS NEEDED, AND IT IS NEEDED VERY SOON’: That’s the message from advocates who are pushing Congress to inject more money into the nearly $31 billion Education Stabilization Fund.

State and local resources “are certain to diminish significantly” because of tax revenue reductions prompted by the pandemic, the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Association of State Boards of Education wrote in a letter to congressional leaders.

“Yet the need for schools to surmount new challenges in educating all students will only continue to grow, even as schools make plans to reopen,” the letter says, which also requests money to address a digital divide that often leaves impoverished students cut off from internet access, and a shot at keeping up with school remote learning plans.

Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.) wants to offer essential workers and their families $25,000 in student loan debt forgiveness or “education credits,” as part of a “Roadmap to Recovery” proposal she unveiled this week.

Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) is asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make sure families can update their financial information in the student loan application process, in light of the pandemic’s economic fallout.

POLITICO Pro is here to help you navigate these unprecedented times. Check out our new Covid-19 Coverage Roundup, which provides a daily summary of top Covid-19 news coverage from across all 16 federal policy verticals as well as premium content, such as DataPoint graphics. Please sign up at our settings page to receive this unique roundup sent directly to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

MICHIGAN GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER may not be campaigning to be Joe Biden’s running mate, but she’s pushing the state legislature to adopt a program that offers a “tuition-free pathway” to college or a technical certificate for essential workers who don’t have a college degree.

Billed as the “Futures for Frontliners” program, Whitmer’s office says it’s the first of its kind in the country and is based on the GI Bill. Here’s more from the Detroit Free Press.

NEW YORK’S EDUCATION DEPARTMENT is building a task force to work out ways to safely reopen school buildings.

The move comes less than a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a 116-person advisory board to shape New York’s path forward, none of whom principally represent the K-12 education sector. POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek has more.

THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION is pushing for a bond of at least $2 billion on the November ballot to address broadband access as rural students struggle to connect to distance learning amid the coronavirus.

The bond would focus on rural areas and also be used to purchase computer hardware and support health and safety needs at schools related to Covid-19. POLITICO’s Mackenzie Mays has more.

— Mackenzie also reports that teachers unions in the state are fighting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s suggestion that schools open this summer. The unions say teachers were stunned by Newsom’s suggestion earlier this week that schools could reopen in July in an attempt to help reduce learning gaps.

THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS ON WEDNESDAY RELEASED its 20-page roadmap for reopening schools and communities.

To gradually reopen, the AFT plan calls for a 14-day decline in cases, ramped up capacity for testing, tracing and isolating new cases, public health measures to stop transmission, union and community input in planning and investments in public health and schools during the recovery.

“Our blueprint serves as a stark contrast to the conflicting guidance, bluster and lies of the Trump administration,” President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. “The input of educators and healthcare workers, as well as parents, is crucial in making any reopening plan work.”

— A new report from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Student Research Foundation and Google concludes that Hispanic students like STEM subjects at similar rates to their Asian and white peers, but they’re less likely to report taking seven or more STEM courses.

— A new brief from the Urban Institute explores different challenges to remote learning prompted by the coronavirus crisis, and suggests strategies for districts navigating long-term school closures.

TEXTBOOK MERGER UPDATE: A spokesperson for McGraw-Hill Education and Cengage says the companies are continuing discussions with the U.S. Justice Department on a textbook merger deal.

In a notice posted on its website, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said it would extend some deadlines in its merger review after the parties informed them they were considering “whether to abandon the arrangements.” DOJ has also been looking at the companies’ merger agreement, which is set to expire on Friday.

A spokesperson for the companies said: “Publishing the notice is part of the CMA’s standard procedure; the request was made to allow us focus on discussions with the DOJ, which are ongoing.”

— Food crisis deepens as Puerto Rico school cafeterias shutter: Associated Press

— House appropriators to hold hearing on Covid-19 response: POLITICO Pro

— Given the option, Montana schools choose to remain closed: Associated Press

— ‘Governor, now is the time’: Detroit district officials want Whitmer to settle landmark literacy lawsuit: Chalkbeat

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