Athletics are among the activities excluded from a "stay-home" order that was issued for all University of Michigan undergraduate students on Tuesday.
The order, issued by the Washtenaw County Health Department, instructs all University of Michigan students to stay in place through at least Nov. 3. It's a move that county health officials say is "intended to mitigate concerns about the escalating spread of the COVID virus."
The order specifically states that football can continue: "Athletic competition may continue as long as it is done under the direction of a medical professional (football may proceed)."
Faculty and staff are also excluded from the order, but all undergraduate students at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, campus have to stay in their dorms/residence halls through Election Day, with the only reasons to leave being to exercise (in groups of no more than 2 people), access medical care or to get basic needs.
The Gophers and Michigan are scheduled to open their respective seasons Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., though ESPN's "College GameDay" will hosting its national college football pregame show from Minneapolis on Saturday morning. Unlike last year, spectators aren't allowed.
COVID-19 also appears likely to impact the Gopher football team, as head coach P.J. Fleck said Monday that a "number of players" won't be able to play due to the virus, though the team has not said if any players have tested positive or simply been exposed, prompting quarantine measures.
"I mean I don't have an estimate, as I know that number, but I'm just not going to tell you the number," Fleck said.
"There's a lot of reasons why, but this is how the whole year is going to be, and there are no excuses. We've got to be able to find a way. Our team has known that from day one back in March. We said the same thing before anybody was out. Whether by the opt out, injury or COVID, we said the same thing. Whoever finds a way to do this better for longer. We're going to need the entire football team."
"Now again, I don't want you all to think you know we have 65 players out right now. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying as a whole, what could happen now, what could happen then, what could happen in six weeks from now."