A group of student-athletes at the University of Michigan want the decision to end all sporting activities for two weeks overturned.
Michigan wrestler Myles Amine posted on Twitter a statement from a “student-athlete coalition” on Monday, begging the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider the two-week shutdown and the required quarantine .
Michigan on Saturday announced it was suspending all practices and games “until further notice and for up to 14 days” due to several positive cases of the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, which transmits about 50% more easily, according to the MDHHS.
“University of Michigan student-athletes recognize the seriousness of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and have done everything in our power to prevent the spread of this virus to the best of our ability,” the statement said. “Recently, 5 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 strain were found in the sports department, which triggered the closure of all sports-related activities and the closure of all sports facilities by the Ministry of Health and Michigan Human Services in conjunction with the Washtenaw County Department of Health.
“While we, the University of Michigan student-athletes, understand the seriousness of this virus and take it very seriously, we believe this MDHHS mandate is unnecessary and should not only be reconsidered, but overturned.”
MDHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told MLive on Monday that the ministry memorandum he sent to Michigan on Saturday regarding the virus outbreak was just a recommendation to close, not an order.
However, a UM athletics source said officials interpreted the state memorandum as a warrant.
While the MDHHS said there were five confirmed cases of the variant within the program and “additional suspected cases”, several teams have not been affected by the outbreak, according to a source.
The “student-athlete coalition” believes that the measures taken to mitigate the virus are too severe. Meanwhile, Christian Hubaker, a member of the men’s track and field team, created a online petition in the hope of obtaining the lifting of the judgment.
“Based on departmental testing policies, quarantining healthy students is unnecessary and excessive,” the statement continued. “Placing all student-athletes in mandatory quarantine, instead of working team by team, is unfair to athletes who have followed all the protocols necessary to compete and who have had no contact with confirmed cases. These student-athletes went above and beyond to earn the right to have a season in the midst of a pandemic.
“We think it’s just illogical to impose a quarantine on student-athletes given that at this point there are no additional mitigation strategies recommended apart from what the athletes already have. respected (masking, social distancing, inner bubbles, etc.). University of Michigan student-athletes stand united to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone in our community safe.
More than 10 teams are currently competing during the winter season: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey, wrestling, volleyball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, indoor athletics and cross-country.
The Michigan Sports Department reported on Friday that 22 student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 between Jan. 16 and Jan. 22.
Hockey coach Mel Pearson said Monday his team had not had a positive COVID-19 test since July 7.
“I guess my first reaction was a bit of shock, a bit of surprise, a bit of disappointment, a bit of anger,” Pearson told a small group of reporters via video teleconference. “Our players did a great job.”
Pearson said he spoke to his team on Saturday night and Sunday.
“The main point of the calls was just to reinforce the message from our athletic director and our department about what this means and what our responsibilities are as student-athletes,” he said. “Then you have to make sure that they were all okay and going to be okay and that the resources are available to them. And then third, just to remind them that we still have one season at this point. I told them that I am convinced that we will continue and come back to it and that we must do everything in our power to help each other. Not only stay safe, but stay positive and be prepared for the day we return as a group. “