UM-Dearborn becomes first college in state to cancel fall sports season

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The University of Michigan-Dearborn will not compete in sports this fall, making it the first college in the state to extend its cancellation of athletic events through that season.

The school made the announcement Monday, the same day Michigan's main campus in Ann Arbor said it would welcome students back to campus in the fall.

Michigan-Dearborn officials say its campus will be a mixture of online and in-person learning this fall, with it leaning predominantly toward online.

UM-Dearborn athletic director Matt Beaudry

“Our region and state have made significant progress in helping to control the spread of COVID-19. UM-Dearborn is located in the center of our state’s hardest hit area. For this reason we are taking extra measures to provide a healthy and safe learning and teaching environment for our community,” said Domenico Grasso, chancellor of Michigan-Dearborn. “We will also prioritize our obligation to the broader community to do all that we can to ensure that we don’t contribute to the community spread of COVID-19. Only by joining together and applying the best health practices can we accomplish this goal.”

Michigan-Dearborn sponsors eight men's sports and eight women's sports, including basketball and ice hockey for both. It also sponsors two club sports.

Affected for the fall are men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, and volleyball.

The decision was finalized over the weekend.

"We're obviously disappointed, but to match the university's transition to remote learning with less students on campus, smaller classes sizes, it was not safe to continue," said Matt Beaudry, UM-Dearborn's athletic director. "Our head coaches have been tremendous in their leadership, support and understanding."

Beaudry said talks will continue regarding winter and spring sports seasons, with all decisions being made based on health and safety.

Michigan-Dearborn is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, a body of 251 small colleges throughout the country. Michigan-Dearborn competes in the 11-school Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, made up of colleges in Michigan and Indiana.

None of the other WHAC schools have announced plans for the fall season.

Last month, the California Collegiate Athletic Association, made up of 13 schools that compete in Division II, announced it would not compete in fall sports. On Monday, Bowdoin College, a liberal-arts school in Maine, said it would not compete in fall or winter sports.

The NCAA canceled most winter sports championships and all spring sports championships, amid the start of the United States' coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984