ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – The entire sports department at the University of Michigan is on hiatus after several tests positive for the new COVID-19 variant which transmits at a higher rate.
The state’s Department of Health and Human Services issued the warrant on Saturday, with the school saying it was tracking positive COVID-19 tests for several people linked to the sports department. The entire department could be in quarantine for two weeks.
The 11th-ranked women’s basketball team was scheduled to play at home against Purdue on Sunday. It was one of four sporting events the school had scheduled. The men’s tennis team was hosting a tournament while the women’s tennis was in Atlanta. The men’s gymnastics event in Nebraska has also been postponed.
The seventh-ranked men’s basketball team was not supposed to play until Wednesday at Penn State.
“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we need to do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff and student-athletes from other schools, ”said athletic director Warde Manuel.
Michigan said it had been worked diligently under state and Big Ten guidelines, but the state’s HHS department mandated a more aggressive strategy for the new variant.
Michigan men’s basketball team leads the Big Ten and had four games expected in the next two weeks, including a big rivalry game against Michigan State on Feb.6.
The women’s team currently has their best AP ranking. Ohio State handed the Wolverines their first loss of the season on Thursday despite 50 points by Michigan’s Naz Hillmon. The Wolverines were supposed to play six games by Feb. 7, including two against Michigan State.
Michigan goalie Mike Smith (12) leads over Purdue goalie Eric Hunter Jr. (2) in the Wolverines’ men’s basketball 70-53 win over the Boilermakers on Friday night. The appearance of a new variant of COVID-19 in some positive tests led Michigan to suspend all sports activities for two weeks.
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