A federal appellate panel has upheld a lower court ruling that the NCAA needs to provide full scholarships for student athletes, including meals and cellphone expenses.  But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel struck down another ruling requiring schools to pay athletes up to $5,000 annually for the use of their name, likeness or image.

University of Illinois Labor and Employment Relations Professor Michael LeRoy calls this part of the decision a “significant victory” for the NCAA.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois's racing board is taking a gamble in an attempt to save the beleaguered industry.

Two historic Illinois tracks will hold no races next year. That’s a decision that could lead to their permanent closure.

The decision by Illinois's 11-member racing board was unanimous: No horses will run at Balmoral and Maywood parks in 2016.

"We can't sit out a year and survive; we'll have to default on our lease and that'll be the end of it," said Duke Johnston, a partial owner of the tracks. His family has long been in the business.

Illinois State Museum / state of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is set to close state museums and a sport-shooting complex to the public because of the budget crisis. But most staff will still report to work. 

The Illinois State Museum in Springfield and four satellite locations -- along with the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta -- will close today.

Rauner's office initially sent layoff notices to more than 100 workers at those sites in an effort to save about $5 million. But unions sued, saying the layoffs violated their contract.

Flickr user tales of a wandering youkai / "U.S. Chip-enabled Payment Cards" (CC BY 2.0)

Many U.S. banks are now issuing new credit cards with a chip in them. That’s in advance of Thursday’s soft deadline for retailers to get the new payment system in place. 

But the head of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association says the “chip and sign” cards are a half-step forward at best. 

A computer chip embedded in the credit cards develops a new code for each transaction.


Critics say Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is too liberal, but he's gaining in polls against presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. 

On Monday, he took his campaign to Illinois.

In 1964, Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago in a ceremony at the on-campus Rockefeller chapel.

Now as a U.S. Senator from Vermont, Sanders returned to students packing the pews to hear him speak.

With a possible federal government shutdown on the horizon, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says the consequences for his home state would be especially dire if it occurs while Illinois remains without a state budget.

“When we have government shutdown in Washington as we did several years ago, innocent people are going to suffer as a result of it,” Durbin said Friday, standing in front of military planes at Scott Air Force Base. “And we can certainly know the impact it’s going to have on some groups, not the least of which will be federal employees.”


Illinois is about to enter its fourth month without a budget. One of the state's top Democrats says the problem could be resolved within days, if the governor moved off his insistence that other laws pass first.

The last time Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders all got together was when the state had no budget crisis; it was apparently in late May, before the last fiscal year was over.

Associated Press / NPR

Pope Francis’s call for a renewed spirit of cooperation in Congress drew praise from members of Illinois’s delegation. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin praised the pope’s address to Congress Thursday, which he says extended a challenge to lead better lives and to help people.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Durbin said. “We are divided on partisan lines and regional lines and so many others. But he’s really begged us all to put that aside, and aspire to some of his values and ideals that he’s spelled out.”

ComEd / Wikipedia

Grants from a utility company will help communities in northern Illinois improve safety.

Concerned about storms that have ripped through the area, the City of Harvard will use its grant to replace outdated warning sirens.

The Village of Kingston will acquire a speed detector to enhance safety on the state highway that runs through town and the local grade-school zone. Two other recipients will get automated external defibrillators, also known as AEDs.

state of Illinois

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene Thursday in Springfield.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.