State Watch

University of Michigan president says no football in fall if students aren’t on campus

The president of the University of Michigan said the school will not have football or other sports in the fall if students are not brought back for on-campus classes. 

“If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan,” Mark Schlissel, the president of the university, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Sunday. 

He also warned that even if the team is able to play, they may do so at a stadium smaller than the Michigan Stadium, known as the “Big House,” which has a capacity of 107,601. 

“I can’t imagine a way to do that safely,” Schlissel told the Journal. 

Schlissel, the first physician-scientist to lead the university, told the newspaper he expects to make a call in coming weeks on what the upcoming school year will look like. 

Whatever decision is made for the fall will likely be the case for the entire academic year, he said. 

“What’s going to be different in January?” he said. 

Schlissel said he doesn’t want to “set false expectations,” noting that other more enthusiastic promises made from other institutions include fine print details that the openings are subject to approval by local officials. 

“They’re really not as declarative as they appear,” he told the Journal. 

As models predict a surge in coronavirus cases likely to sweep the country in early December, some universities have announced shifted calendars that avoid having students on campus during a potential December spike. 

The University of Notre Dame said school would resume for in-person classes in August, with plans to end the semester at Thanksgiving. 

The University of South Carolina cancelled a fall break scheduled for the middle of October and set in-person classes to conclude at Thanksgiving.

Tags Big Ten Conference College football Coronavirus Mark Schlissel Michigan
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