College notes: COVID-19 ends MSU gymnastics' season ahead of Big Ten championships

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The Michigan State women's gymnastics team hasn't competed since Feb. 7, and earlier this week, the university made the decision to shut down the rest of the season.

COVID-19 is to blame.

MSU gymnastics has been shut down for the season because of COVID-19.

"It's an extremely unfortunate situation, but due to the multiple quarantines and shutdowns creating missed training time, out of concern for the health and safety of the gymnasts and their ability to safely compete, we decided this was in the best interest of our student-athletes," athletic director Bill Beekman said in a statement Tuesday.

"Our student-athletes have shown relentless resiliency and grit, and I know they'll be back stronger and better than ever."

The Spartans only were able to compete in two tri-meets this season, and finished 2-2.

The Spartans had to pull out of their last five meets, including last Friday's against Michigan, as well as the two upcoming meets, at Ohio State this Friday and the Big Ten championships Saturday, March 20.

"I commend our team that they kept trying to finish the season, but ultimately, this is the right decision, based  on the extreme difficulty of having enough training time to safely get ready for competition," coach Mike Rowe said, also in a statement.

Paying tribute

Don Chiodo, Central Michigan's longtime broadcaster for football, basketball and other sports, will be forever remembered in Mount Pleasant.

Chiodo, who died in a car accident in December 2019 just days before Central's appearance in the Mid-American Conference championship football game, will have the football stadium's press booth named after him at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for the dedication and the renaming. As of Wednesday, the effort had raised $4,500. Matt Columbus, Chiodo's son-in-law who is married to Chiodo's oldest daughter, is organizing the fundraiser.

"Don loved everything CMU especially CMU athletics," Columbus wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Don was 'The Voice of the Chippewas' for over a decade, calling the play by play for men’s football and basketball. Calling those games was his true passion in life.

"In the few years I knew him, I remember countless Thanksgivings and Christmas’ that he would either show up late to or leave early from so that he could make it back to travel with the teams to their games."

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►Tyrone Scott, a receiver at Central Michigan, entered the transfer portal this week. He played just two games in the shortened 2020, but played all 14 in 2019, with 37 receptions for 650 yards and five touchdowns. He's one of 20 CMU football players in the portal, 14 since the season ended.

►The NCAA Division I individual wrestling championships are set for March 18-20 in St. Louis, and the state will be well-represented. Central Michigan and Michigan State each had eight qualifiers, while Michigan had five wrestlers qualify.

►Chris Chestnut, who played receiver at Western Michigan from 2002-03, has returned to his alma mater as tight-ends coach. He comes for Western Kentucky, where he was receivers coach for two years.

►Michigan State men's golf tied for fifth at their own invitational in Sea Island, Georgia, this week. The highlight was sophomore Bradley Smithson's hole-in-one Tuesday. Smithson, of Grand Rapids, shot 71.

►Both Michigan (Iowa) and Michigan State (Maryland) baseball started the season 3-1. Michigan plays Purdue this weekend and Michigan State plays Northwestern, both in Greenville, South Carolina.

►Howell's Cleary University, a member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference, is adding women's hockey, and has named Brittany Knopp head coach. She comes from Central Michigan.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984