Michigan football spring trip canceled over coronavirus fears

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

The Michigan football team is sidelining its annual spring trip this year because of expanding outbreaks of the potentially fatal coronavirus.

Jim Harbaugh

It is unclear where the team was heading overseas – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh last month said his staff had narrowed it down to two options and he told them to surprise him – but multiple sources told The Detroit News the trip is off this year because of coronavirus fears.

This is a respiratory disease first detected in China last December, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , it has been found in 32 locations internationally, including the U.S. There have been outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy, where 50,000 people in 10 northern Italian towns have reportedly been locked down to contain the outbreak in Europe.

The health risk posed by coronavirus is high, according to the CDC. More than 2,500 have died from the virus.

"The football team will not be taking an international trip this spring due to the health concerns around the world, most notably coronavirus," UM football spokesman Dave Ablauf told The Detroit News on Monday.

In lieu of traveling abroad, as the team has done the last three years, the players are expected to participate in community projects in the Ann Arbor area.

Harbaugh took the team to Rome for the program’s first trip in 2017, and the Wolverines went to Paris in 2018 and South Africa in 2019. The trips, which have ranged from $800,000 to $1.19 million, have been funded by Michigan donors.