The University of Michigan’s athletic department is shutting down for two weeks due to confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, a department spokesperson confirmed with the Free Press on Saturday night.
The shutdown will affect all sports, including sports that are currently in season like men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball (which was moved from the fall) and ice hockey. The pause will start immediately.
Michigan is the first major university to temporarily halt all athletic activities since last March, when all of college sports effectively shuttered on the eve of the men’s and women’s March Madness basketball tournaments.
Per the release, the state is taking a cautious approach to the new SAR-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 strain of the virus, which is “approximately 50 percent more transmittable.” All athletes, coaches and staffers are required to quarantine, beginning Saturday, possibly for two weeks.
“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,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in the statement.
The No. 7 Michigan men’s basketball squad defeated Purdue 70-53 in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Friday night. The No. 11-ranked women’s team lost 81-77 to Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
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