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UM President: No football season unless on-campus classes resume

COVID-19 could derail upcoming season

UM President: No football season unless on-campus classes resume
UM President: No football season unless on-campus classes resume

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – College football Saturday at the Big House is a maize and blue tradition but -- like so many other things -- it may not happen this year because of the coronavirus.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said if students can’t return for on-campus classes, there won’t be a football season.

Update May 24, 2020 -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 54,679; Death toll now at 5,228

Football is a big deal for Ann Arbor, so it’s a hard pill to swallow knowing there’s a chance the upcoming season may not take place.

“There are all kinds of things wrapped up in the football season taking place that make it not just be a trivial thing. I mean, you think ‘It’s just sports. It’s not a big deal,'" said Sam Webb. “If there’s no football in the fall, there are serious financial repercussions, emotional."

Radio personality and sports publisher Webb said he wasn’t shocked to hear the news and that it makes sense that Schlissel would tell the Wall Street Journal that “If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan."

“If you’re talking about an environment that’s not safe enough for the general student body. Then how could you then argue that it’s safe for student athletes?" Webb asked.

With so many known and unknown factors to determine if the Wolverine will indeed be kicking off on the grid-iron in 2020, this future is still very uncertain.

“President Schlissel didn’t speak. He didn’t make a definitive statement. I don’t think that he was saying that there isn’t going to be any football,” Webb said.

At the end of the day, this would be the worst case scenario the school has come up with in the event the circumstances don’t get any better.

“I think they are just managing expectations. Is there going to be a false spike like some of the experts are saying?" Webb said. “So these are all factors that go into whether or not students are going to be on campus in the fall and then in turn have a season.”

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

More information on coronavirus (COVID-19):

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.