The state health authorities in Michigan will shut down all athletics at the University of Michigan for the next two weeks, the Wolverines announced tonight. The decision comes as five people in the Wolverines athletic department have reportedly tested positive for a COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, that appears to be significantly more infectious than the original strain. Fifteen more in the department are presumed positive, according to a report from The Michigan Daily.
"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," Wolverines athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement.
The Michigan men's basketball team, alone in first place in the Big Ten at 8-1, is scheduled to play Indiana in Ann Arbor on Jan. 30. If the Hoosiers' game against the Wolverines is postponed, Indiana will have a nine-day break between its matchup against Rutgers today and its next game against, Illinois on Feb. 2. It is possible the Hoosiers' postponed game against Michigan State could be rescheduled for that stretch. Indiana's game against the Spartans in East Lansing, scheduled for Jan. 17, was postponed because Michigan State's program paused basketball activities following an outbreak of the virus.
The men's basketball programs at Michigan State and Nebraska are currently paused, along with the Wolverines.
Michigan also played Purdue on Friday. The Wolverines have not yet announced any positive tests within the men's basketball program. Purdue guard Sasha Stefanovic tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and missed the game against the Wolverines.
No determination has been made about how the pause may affect games after Feb. 7, Michigan said in a statement.