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University of Michigan Halts Athletics Due to UK COVID Strain Outbreak

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The University of Michigan (UM) has suspended all athletics for the next two weeks after several athletes tested positive for the B117 variant of coronavirus.

In response to the outbreak, the state’s health department is now “recommending aggressive strategies” to tackle the infections, the school has stated.

Michigan, a member of the Big Ten Conference, has now announced a two-week suspension that would require teams to reschedule or cancel at least four games this season.

Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, Warde Manuel, remarked that the department has never canceled games before. However, “with so many unknowns about this variant, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff,” he added.

Besides infections within the sports teams, university administration has reported that five cases of the new COVID variant have been detected among people within the university. 

What Does This Mean for Michigan Athletics?

The coronavirus has dealt a huge blow to college sports, forcing many schools to suspend fall competitions, with some colleges now canceling spring athletics as well. UM is now the latest university to postpone competitions and close training facilities for the next two weeks due to another spike in state-wide infections.

This has effectively sidelined UM basketball. The university has also requested all athletes and athletic personnel to immediately quarantine until February 7.

A number of sports have thus far been impacted. Basketball, ice hockey, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling have all been paused until further notice. Only the football and hockey programs were not impacted by the recent decision. 

The university has made no determination on how the pause will impact sports schedules after February 7.

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