2020-21 Season

State orders up to 14-day shutdown for U-M Athletics

The University of Michigan Athletic Department is set to undergo a 14-day shutdown after multiple cases of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus were detected within the Athletic Department. The news was first reported by Ethan Sears for the Michigan Daily.

Here’s the full Michigan release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) decision made Saturday (Jan. 23), the University of Michigan Athletic Department will immediately pause athletic activities in all sports, including games, team and individual training sessions, until further notice and up to 14 days.

While U-M has worked diligently on testing and reporting within state and Big Ten Conference guidelines, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is mandating a more aggressive strategy for this B.1.1.7 variant, which exceeds current program efforts designed around the standard form of the virus.

The mandate follows positive test results for the SAR-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant virus infections from several individuals linked to the U-M Athletic Department through its diligent testing regiment. The B.1.1.7 variant is thought to be approximately 50 percent more transmissible than the standard form of the virus, leading to faster spread of the virus, potentially increased numbers of cases, and additional hospitalizations and deaths. Therefore, a pause of all athletic activities and a closure of all U-M athletic facilities are being taken to strengthen the public health intervention. Team members (student-athletes, coaches, and team staff) must immediately isolate/quarantine effective Jan. 23 until further notice and up to 14 days (Feb. 7).

“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools,” said Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics.

University public health officials are working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan Department of Human Health Services on additional mitigation strategies to address the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant in the university community. The university will be carefully considering additional mitigation measures. There are many unknowns that remain under investigation by U-M, local and state public health officials.

No determination has been made on how the pause may impact scheduled games beyond Feb. 7.

Michigan is scheduled to play Penn State (Jan. 27), Indiana (Jan. 30), Northwestern (Feb. 3) and Michigan State (Feb. 6) in the next two weeks.

Notable Replies

  1. GoBlueScrewOSU7

    The gut punch is the fact that no one on our team is positive and we’re missing 2 weeks of games. For all we know we come back and can easily get exposed and have to shut down for 2 more weeks.

    We’re the only team to be shut down with zero positives

  2. ReegsShannon

    But yeah, I don’t see how there’s any science based justification for a blanket 2-week shutdown among groups of people that haven’t even interacted with each other… Particularly since there’s no way this is going to stamp out the UK strain in Michigan (if the student athlete was irresponsible enough to go to the UK and then spread it to their teammates… they almost certainly spread it to others outside the AD).

    I could see a mandatory one-week shutdown that teams could test out of, but two-weeks just isn’t based on anything.

  3. GoBlueScrewOSU7

    They were forced to play on Christmas day, partly so no one would be able to go home over the Holidays, while some Quidditch player went to the UK and potentially ruined everything.

  4. Peter_Vignier

    I really think people need to just take a breather. There is quite a bit of wiggle room here and the only thing that has been consistent over the past year is things can and will change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a scenario where this doesn’t end up as a full two week shutdown for the team assuming they can demonstrate no exposure to the new strain. It’s also possible that this is just the start of another wave that shuts everything down in a matter of weeks.

    The only thing I can say with certainty is implying a persons alumni status is going to lead them to make a vindictive decision in the names of sport rivalry is idiotic.

  5. umhoops

    Remember the governor gets elected by a lot of people who went to school at Michigan.

    It’s ridiculous to suggest that any of these decisions are based on where anyone went to college.

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