UM cancels open spring football practice, shuts down all recruiting, limits fans till April 21

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

It's going to be awfully lonely on Michigan's campus.

In addition to the university joining several other state schools in shifting to online classes amid the global coronavirus outbreak, the athletic department announced several plans Wednesday night.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Among them, all Michigan sporting events over the next month will be played in front of limited crowds, which each student athlete allowed a maximum of two family members.  That includes the often well-attended baseball and softball games. Media still will be allowed in attendance. Later Wednesday, the Big Ten announced all spring sports would have limited spectators.

Also at Michigan, recruiting will be shut down for all sports, including football, with no on-campus visits allowed, and no off-campus travel by coaches.

Football's April 18 open spring practice also is now cancelled

"The health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is paramount as we assess the near and long-term potential impacts," Michigan's athletic department said in a statement. "This is a rapidly evolving situation.

More: With no specific timetable, it's unclear if NCAA fan ban will include April's Frozen Four at LCA

"UM officials and medical experts, in close coordination with the state and local public health departments, are closely monitoring for developments and will offer additional guidance and messaging as soon as it is available."

The new protocols will be in place starting Thursday, and running through the end of the winter term, which is April 21. They could be extended beyond that.

Single-game tickets will be refunded by the athletic department. Season-ticket holders will receive partial refunds.

The protocols come shortly after the NCAA announced it was banning fans from upcoming championships, including its men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Michigan is scheduled to host the NCAA men's gymnastics championships at Crisler Center on April 17 and 18. The school says the status of that event remains to be determined.

Other announcements by Michigan:

►Sports teams' travel will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

►Sports teams' practices will continue, sans non-essential personnel.

►All third-party events scheduled to take place on campus at Michigan athletic facilities have been cancelled, with refunds to be issued shortly.

►The annual Big House 5K, scheduled for April 19, is now off.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984