UM-Dearborn cancels sports through March 1; athletes vow to fight decision

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The University of Michigan-Dearborn won't play sports until at least March 1, effectively canceling its men's and women's basketball seasons, while athletes have vowed to fight the decision.

The school, which competes in the NAIA and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, made the announcement Wednesday.

UM-Dearborn's campus.

"This plan is consistent with the university's approach to prioritize the health and safety of the campus community and it is aligned with the hybrid blend of remote and in-person teaching," the school said.

All Michigan-Dearborn classes are being taught remotely through at least Feb. 26.

UM-Dearborn was the first college in Michigan to postpone fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing them all to the spring. The school said Thursday those sports, including men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball, will be reassessed through February and still could return, but again not until March 1, at the earliest.

Winter sports also include men's and women's ice hockey and men's and women's bowling.

Spring sports include baseball, men's and women's golf, men's lacrosse and softball.

The school said its Fieldhouse and Wellness Center will be closed through the end of February. All athletic scholarships through the 2020-21 academic year will be honored.

The news comes as many universities are returning to sports, with all Football Bowl Subdivision conferences planning to play fall football, and the NCAA recently outlining a Nov. 25 start date for basketball.

Wednesday's news was met with some resistance from Michigan-Dearborn athletes, who have started a petition to get the decision overturned.

"This decision was made because our administration here does not respect us as student athletes," Jalen Paul, a senior guard, said in a Twitter video. "They treat us as normal students who are just participating in extracurricular activities, and anybody that's been a college athlete knows that this is not the case. The time, effort and dedication that we show on a daily basis, as well as the time, effort and dedication we have shown our whole lives to get to where we are, deserves more respect than our university is showing us.

"We've all gone through too much in our lives and sacrificed too much to have our seasons taken away.

"We've gotta stand up and make our voices heard."

Twitter: @tonypaul1984