Michigan cancels international trip over virus fears

Field Level Media

February 25, 2020 at 4:06 pm.

The Michigan football team won’t make its annual overseas spring trip, largely because of the spread of the coronavirus, multiple outlets reported.

Team spokesman David Ablauf confirmed the news to MLive, adding the team would have a local experience instead.

“The football team will not be taking an international trip this spring due to health concerns around the world, most notably coronavirus,” Ablauf told the outlet via text message. “(We’re) looking at doing some community service in the Ann Arbor area.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh instituted the team tradition in 2017 with a trip to Italy, where the team mixed football practice with cultural experiences. The team met Pope Francis in Vatican City.

Trips to France (2018) and South Africa (2019) followed. Contributions from Michigan alumni financed the travels.

Ablauf said a destination hadn’t been finalized yet for this spring.

The coronavirus largely has affected China and other nations, but concern is rising globally after an outbreak in northern Italy. NBC News reported Tuesday morning that seven people have died in that region with at least 270 more infected. In China, the death toll is up to 2,663, with 77,600 confirmed cases, the network said.