Iowa Hawkeyes

Michigan athletics shutdown prevents 1-vs.-2 wrestling dual at Iowa for now

Top-ranked Hawkeyes will still wrestle Illinois on Sunday

Iowa and Nebraska in a Big Ten wrestling dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Rebecca F.
Iowa and Nebraska in a Big Ten wrestling dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Jacob Warner received word from Abe Assad.

The message relayed news about the status of University of Michigan athletics. They took it with a grain of salt until University of Iowa coaches verified the second-ranked Wolverines would not wrestle Sunday against No. 1 Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I think when we found out it was a little disappointing,” Warner said. “I think that I found out from a tweet that Assad sent me, so none of us really knew if it was true or not because you can never really believe anything on the internet these days.

“We had to figure it out and Tom and Terry (Brands) confirmed it. It was sad. Obviously, we want to wrestle but I get it.”

Michigan announced Saturday that its sports programs will be shut down until further notice and up to 14 days, including games, team and individual training sessions. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the decision due to positive tests of a variant strain of the coronavirus.

The Iowa-Michigan dual could be rescheduled for later in the regular season. The Hawkeyes (2-0, 2-0) will wrestle a single Big Ten Conference dual against No. 9 Illinois (4-0, 4-0) on Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m. (BTN). Extra matches will start at 9.

“Most importantly, we still got a date on the calendar,” Tom Brands said. “Illinois is coming to town, regardless. Be ready to go.”

Brands emphasized the importance of reaching the NCAA Championships this season, avoiding the same situation that prevented the 2020 national tournament. Interruptions can occur anytime to anyone. Programs have to remain diligent and follow guidelines.

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“There’s a message and the COVID message is that no matter how well you do it, no matter how you do it right you could get bit,” Brands said. “It’s what it is.”

A coalition of Michigan student-athletes, including top-ranked 184-pounder Myles Amine are asking for the decision to be overturned.

“It’s not like you can determine your fate here,” Brands said. “The message with Michigan is there’s a concerted effort out there by the athletes, rightly so, to advocate for them competing, so stay ready.”

Warner said the Hawkeyes were excited to wrestle the Wolverines, who were expected to have a full lineup that includes seven wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weights.

“They have to take care of other stuff first, so I’m not going to fault them for that,” said Warner, who grew up in Illinois and still gets to compete against the Illini. “We just have to get ready for Illinois only, now, and that’s OK.”

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