After five new cases of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant were found among University of Michigan athletes, the state health department has recommended pausing Wolverine athletic outings, including practice, for two weeks starting Jan. 24.
The new variant, which is presumed to have affected 15 others, was introduced at the beginning of the semester by a Wolverine athlete traveling from the United Kingdom.
U-M's athletic department announced Saturday that the school would be shutting down all activities for two weeks.
According to a report from The Michigan Daily, the school's athletic department said they've been following tight Big Ten testing and reporting protocols to a T, not breaking away from the correct measures to safely compete.
However, over the past week, The Daily reported that 22 student-athletes had tested positive for COVID-19, 13 more than the week prior.
This is going to affect Michigan State athletics in a number of ways, postponements including:
- Both the Jan. 28 and 30 volleyball games
- The Feb. 6 men's basketball game
- The Jan. 28 women's basketball game
- The Jan. 29 and 30 track and field Big Ten Multis; the Feb. 6 invitational
- The Jan. 30 cross country Big Ten Championships
No determination has been made on how the pause will impact contests beyond Feb. 7, meaning the Feb. 9 ice hockey game against in-state rivals remains up in the air.
"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," Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at U-M, said in a statement.
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