Michigan football can continue.
Despite Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services would issue an order halting high school and youth sports, among other COVID-19 mitigation measures, an exception was made for “professional and collegiate sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation.”
That would include Big Ten sports, which require daily antigen testing to prevent outbreaks, meaning Michigan football can go on. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed the order provides an exemption for football.
The only difference will be that no spectators will be allowed at games. Previously, parents were allowed in the stands at Michigan Stadium, though the general public was not.
“No attendance will mean no attendance,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon told reporters.
It has not yet been confirmed that Michigan hockey can keep playing, or that other sports can keep practicing. However, since the hockey team is in-season, it is operating under the same protocols as the football team.
Since returning to campus in the middle of the summer, 151 athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, per the latest update sent by the athletic department. Eighteen staff members have also tested positive. Four programs were temporarily shut down due to positive tests in late June but since then, there have been no known pauses in practice despite outbreaks on the baseball and gymnastics teams.
The football team hasn’t had any pauses or cancellations, though other programs in the Big Ten and across the country have struggled to contain the virus. This past weekend, nearly 25% of games were postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks, including four in the SEC alone.
Benjamin Rosenfeld contributed reporting for this story.