Michigan State Hopes to Avoid Disruption as COVID-19 Cancellations Rise in Academic Circles
Michigan State Special Assistant to Head Coach Mike Garland spent Friday afternoon coaching the Spartans in a Detroit Red Wings jersey.
The Spartans had recently decided to attend a Red Wings game on Monday before their Tuesday game against Oakland at Little Caesars Arena, prompting Garland to pull out a hockey jersey in anticipation.
Yet within minutes of training ended, that plan was extinguished, when the NHL announced that Red Wings-Avalanche was postponed due to COVID-19 cases.
This is life in sport these days.
A slew of cancellations hit the sports world in recent days, including college basketball. The Ohio State-Kentucky and UCLA-North Carolina marquee games, both scheduled for Saturday in Las Vegas, have been called off. Penn State and Syracuse are also among more than a dozen Division 1 schools that have now canceled games due to COVID-19.
The state of Michigan has remained healthy so far: it had its entire roster available for Friday’s practice, and Spartans coach Tom Izzo said he and his team were determined to do so. what they can to keep her schedule from being disrupted.
Izzo, who has expressed support for vaccination and public health measures, called on the public to do the same.
“Wake up America. Let’s go because I want my guys to play all 31 games,” Izzo said.
Izzo said ahead of the season that his entire team and staff had been vaccinated, as per school policy. He added on Friday that the team had now also received COVID-19 boosters. (Michigan State University announced Friday that students, faculty, and staff will need a booster shot for the 2022 spring semester, which begins Jan.10.)
The trip to see the Red Wings game was part of an extended trip to Detroit that Izzo and State of Michigan staff said would be helpful from a health and wellness standpoint.
On Friday afternoon, the Spartans planned to leave East Lansing on Sunday and head to Little Caesars Arena to watch that night’s Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat and stay in town until Tuesday, with practice on Monday. at the Pistons training center. Izzo said having players together during those days and staying in a hotel creates a controlled environment.
“We’re going to be together in a hotel, because I know what we are, I know we’re all vaccinated, I know we’re all invested,” Izzo said. “We have the best chance of staying healthy. “
The trip also represents a chance to strengthen the team, after a busy schedule at the start of the season that did not allow much.
“I just think it’s another team building and bonding opportunity that we have,” said Izzo.
Last year, the state of Michigan had a series of COVID-19 cases in January that resulted in the postponement of three games. He eventually returned to playing a compact schedule with little training time, a factor that contributed to the team’s overall record of 15-13.
The Spartans, like every other sports team, had hoped those issues would be behind them this season. Its COVID-19 protocols have been relaxed compared to last season.
Still, as Izzo spoke after Friday’s practice, he did so by wearing a mask for the first time this season. The threat of another disruption is significant, as was reiterated this week, and the State of Michigan is determined to avoid it.
“We will do our part and I hope everyone will do theirs,” said Izzo.