A self-described coalition of student-athletes at Michigan released a statement asking to be allowed to return to practice and competition following a department-wide COVID-19 shutdown.

In addition to five confirmed cases, a source told The Daily on Saturday that there are 15 presumed positive cases of the B.1.1.7. strain in the athletic department. Athletes were tested on Monday morning for the first time this week after an off-day on Sunday. They’re expected to receive three PCR and three regular antigen tests this week.

An MDHHS spokeswoman told The Daily on Sunday that the state’s memorandum to the University regarding the shutdown was merely a recommendation, not an order. Sources close to the athletic department initially described it to The Daily as an order on Saturday night, and a Detroit News story on Sunday indicated that the University treated it as such.

As of Saturday night, there were no positive tests on the men’s basketball, women’s basketball or hockey teams.

“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 athletic director Warde Manuel in the Unviersity’s statement released Saturday night. 

Manuel declined through a spokesperson to comment on the coalition’s statement. 

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