For the second time this month an IU basketball road trip to Michigan will be postponed.
Multiple outlets are reporting University of Michigan Athletics will go on a two-week pause in accordance with an order from the Michigan state health department. The reports were later confirmed by the school.
The Michigan Daily first reported the state order halts all athletic activity including practice and is limited exclusively to U-M athletics after a recent influx of positive cases within several Michigan teams. The Daily report indicates that there were five confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant, with 15 more presumed positives throughout the athletic department.
IU is currently scheduled to face Michigan in Ann Arbor next Saturday, Jan. 30. A source within IU Athletics indicated to The Daily Hoosier that the University of Michigan had not been in contact with IU when the news broke on Saturday evening.
The Hoosiers play Rutgers on Saturday, and will now have eight days off before a Feb. 2 home game against Illinois.
Indiana’s trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State on Jan. 17 was also postponed due to COVID-19 cases in the Spartans’ basketball program. MSU has games scheduled on Jan. 28, Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, meaning a reschedule of the game with IU in East Lansing over the eight day window is unlikely.
UPDATE — MICHIGAN CONFIRMS IN A 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.
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