Michigan Pauses as Big Ten's COVID Struggles Continue

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University of Michigan football has taken a pause as COVID-19 continues to cause issues throughout the Big Ten Conference.

According to The Detroit News, the Wolverines, who have yet to have a major COVID-19 issue this season, paused all team activities Monday for an undisclosed length of time. The university is waiting to confirm the test results of presumptive COVID positives.

“Today, out of an abundance of caution, Michigan football is going to hold everything virtually,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday, according to The Detroit News. “We had an increased number of presumptive positives that are awaiting confirmation.

“Like everything, it just goes along with the culture that's been set here since June. This is day-to-day. When results come back, we'll monitor those results and as always continue to be very proactive.

"Medical professionals, our athletic department staff and our trainers and our doctors — we all felt like it was a good idea to virtually have our meetings today.”

Harbaugh added that there weren’t many players traveling for Thanksgiving, so he thinks it’s unlikely that the holiday contributed to the increase in positive tests. As of Tuesday morning, the Wolverines are still scheduled to host Maryland on Saturday.

Even if that game is played as planned, the Big Ten won’t have a full slate of games this weekend. Northwestern at Minnesota has already been canceled, as the Gophers have had to call off two straight games due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the program.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority," Minnesota director of athletics Mark Coyle said in the university’s Nov. 30 COVID-19 update. "The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus. We will now shift our priority to doing everything possible to compete at Nebraska on December 12, and our decisions will continue to be guided by our medical experts."

The Gophers paused all team-related activities Nov. 14 after 15 individuals within the program tested positive from Nov. 19 through Nov. 23, which canceled Minnesota’s game at Wisconsin. The most recent update said that the program has had 47 positive cases, including 21 student-athletes and 26 staff members, between Nov. 19 and the Nov. 30 update.

This weekend will be the sixth straight that at least one Big Ten game has been declared a no contest because of COVID-19 issues. The only week where every Big Ten game was played was Oct. 23-24, the first week the conference played after reversing its decision to postpone the season until the spring.

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