NEWS: Michigan Pauses Athletics, Wolverines Not Currently Expected to Race @ BIG 10 XC Championships
Despite being unable to compete at the 2021 BIG 10 XC Championships, the BIG 10 has approved one additional non-conference competition for Michigan's men's and women's cross country teams this winter. The additional non-conference competition will allow the Wolverines to contend for a birth to the NCAA XC Championships in March.
Late last night, the University of Michigan announced that they will be immediately pausing all athletic activities, "until further notice and up to 14 days". The pause stems from updated mandates regarding a Coronavirus variant and recent positive tests of that variant within the University of Michigan Athletic Department.
The University of Michigan is also requiring that teams isolate/quarantine, "until further notice and up to 14 days". That timeline would overlap with the BIG 10 XC Championships which are currently scheduled for Saturday, January 30th.
Based on the recent announcement, it appears that the Wolverines are not currently expected to compete at next weekend's BIG 10 XC Championships. Both the men's and women's cross country teams were believed to be among the main contenders for the BIG 10 team titles this winter.
Michigan's supposed absence from conference competition could negatively impact their chances of qualifying for the NCAA XC Championships which have been moved to March. With conference meets expected to hold the most weight in the eyes of the selection committee, Michigan's suspected inability to race next weekend could put the Wolverines in a difficult position from a national qualifying standpoint.
UPDATE (12:08pm EST)
The University of Michigan has updated their cross country schedule to indicate that they are not competing at the BIG 10 XC Championships next weekend as our initial report suggests.
Credit to LetsRun.com for identifying the schedule update.