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steve carmody / Michigan Radio

All those commercials promoting new online gambling websites apparently worked.

Online sports gambling got off to a strong start in Michigan in January. Between January 22 and 31, Michiganders wagered more than $115 million on sports online.  

The number does not include bets cast over Super Bowl weekend.

Courtesy of Darlene Walch

From the ski slopes to the snow trails, decreased snowfall and heightened risk of COVID-19 has made this winter season a strange one for many Michiganders hoping to enjoy their favorite cold-weather pastimes. That means that in the Marquette area of the Upper Peninsula, this particular February won’t bring its annual major sled dog races — or the crowd of spectators, mushers, and dogs that usually attend the events.

Gene Gallin / unsplash

“What’s the point of even going to school anymore if I can’t play my sport that I love?” 17 year old  Nataliegh Badgero asked state lawmakers Thursday. She loves basketball. But she can't play for her school right now. 

Michigan legislators held a pair of committee hearings to give high school student athletes and their parents a chance to make their plea to let students play winter and spring sports despite the covid pandemic.

Courtesy to Michigan Photography

The University of Michigan has put its athletic activities on hold. Athletic facilities are closed, and practices, training sessions, and competitions are all shut down.

This comes after several people associated with the athletic department tested positive for the new COVID B.1.1.7. variant.

The University of Michigan football stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has told the University of Michigan to stop all athletic activities in all sports for possibly up to two weeks.

That includes all games, team and individual training sessions, and closing U-of-M athletic facilities.
The mandate follows positive test results for the new COVID B.1.1.7 variant from several people associated with the Athletic Department.

John U. Bacon

After weeks of waiting, University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel finally agreed to extend Harbaugh’s contract through 2025.

There are no polls tracking fan reaction, but it’s clear Michigan fans don’t feel the same way they did six years ago, when Harbaugh surprised the sporting world by returning to coach his alma mater.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s high school football playoffs resume this weekend.

The fall sports playoffs were shut down two months ago as COVID-19 surged in the state.

A spokesman for the Michigan High School Athletic Association is confident they will finish the playoffs this month.

“We haven’t spoken a word in our office about having this shut down again,” says Geoff Kimmerly.

University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced this week that he and football coach Jim Harbaugh would determine Harbaugh’s future on Dec. 19. That’s the day after high school recruits commit to their future schools.

In other words, by delaying the decision, Michigan will force a couple dozen high school students to make one of the most important decisions of their lives without knowing who their head coach will be. Waiting until December 19 is an uncharacteristically short-sighted, selfish move on both sides, at the recruits’ expense.


artist rendering of Olympic Stadium superimposed on downtown Detroit
Detroit Olympic Committee Archive in the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library

Detroit loves its sports, and sometimes even loves the results. The new book City of Champions details pivotal Detroit sports moments spanning more than 250 years, and documents how sports history is woven into the city's overall successes and struggles.

Detroit Lions fire coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn

Nov 28, 2020
The Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions

Matt Patricia opened his final postgame news conference with the Detroit Lions by thanking his wife and children for their support.

Patricia probably knew what was coming.

His boss, general manager Bob Quinn, might not have expected the same fate.

The Lions fired Patricia and Quinn, who hired the coach to replace Jim Caldwell, and effectively ended the franchise’s attempt to replicate the success the men helped Bill Belichick achieve in New England.

The moves were made Saturday, surprising no one.

MHSAA

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has forced an Upper Peninsula varsity football team to forfeit tonight's game.

That's after Pickford Public Schools held an emergency meeting Thursday evening to release players from quarantine, so they could play in the  Friday night game that was scheduled against Indian Lakes Schools.  

Pickford Public Schools is in Chippewa County, which is experiencing a big outbreak of COVID-19.

The Pickford Panthers were State Champions last year in the 8 player 2nd division. This year they were in Division one.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s legendary men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for COVID-19.

Izzo says he tested positive for the disease Monday. The coach says he has minor symptoms, but remains in "good health."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It appears 2020 is inspiring more Michiganders to spend time in the woods...to shoot something.

Demand for hunting licenses is up 13% from last year.  The number of new hunters applying for licenses is up 89%.

Dustin Isenhoff is a marketing specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. He says a focus now is to try to keep these new hunters in the sport.

“Be able to give them whatever resources or tools, things that they need, eliminate whatever barriers we can to keep them engaged in the future,” says Isenhoff.

"Michigan "Michigan State" flags waving side by side
Michigan Photography

The Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans will meet on the football field Saturday afternoon for the 113th time. The teams will kick off at noon at a nearly empty Michigan stadium in Ann Arbor. 

Sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Michigan Radio's Doug Tribou for a preview.

Spartan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Big Ten football returns this weekend. A sports columnist talks us through what collegiate football games will be like in a pandemic year. Also, a look at what life was like for African American people in Michigan prior to the Civil War. Plus, a Black family wonders whether they’re still welcome in their home in Cadillac.

football stadium signs for MSU and U of M
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Big Ten Conference opens its 2020 football season Friday night, but the games people care about in these parts are happening Saturday. Michigan State will host Rutgers in East Lansing in the afternoon. Michigan will visit Minnesota Saturday night.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Morning Edition to discuss a season altered dramatically by COVID-19 before it even begins.

A person playing video games with screens showing games above him
Florian Olivo / Unsplash

Remember the first time you outraced your sibling in Mario Kart? Or, back in the heyday of arcades, the rush of seeing your name pop up on the high score board for Pac-Man? Well, the thrill of competitive video gaming isn't limited to living rooms and arcades anymore as esports teams take their place among traditional college athletics.

The Detroit Cubs at Hamtramck Stadium in 1935.
Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library

It’s been a long time since the historic Hamtramck Stadium has heard the roar of a crowd. One of the few Negro Leagues ballparks left in the nation, it’s stood empty and neglected for years. But in its heyday, back before professional baseball was integrated, it was home to the Detroit Stars. Legendary Black ballplayers like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson played there. Now, a local nonprofit wants to honor the stadium’s history and restore it to its former glory.

Spartan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s athletic director says it's “probably inevitable” that one or more Big Ten teams won’t be able to play a week or more during the conference’s 2020 football season.

EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

The Big Ten has reversed course. There will be college football this fall.

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that the fall football season will begin October 23. The conference has not said when or if other fall sports will also get the go ahead. 

Pop-up tents, coolers, and cornhole sets will be sitting, unused, in sheds and garages across the state of Michigan Saturday morning.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, President Donald Trump placed a phone call to the Big Ten commissioner to discuss what might expedite the start of the season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A Sports Illustrated writer weighs in on the politicization of sports in 2020. Also, how U.S. presidents’ historical treatment of Black Americans informs the present moment. Plus, the thawing of the Great Lakes, as seen through the lens of a National Geographic photojournalist.

The Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions

The sports world almost stopped on a dime as NBA teams, and even some baseball teams, followed the lead of the Milwaukee Bucks and declined to play in recognition of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot and paralyzed August, 23 by Kenosha, Wisconsin police.

The players have agreed to resume play tonight. But, it is an extraordinary moment in sports that brought attention to racial injustices and police brutality in America.

A black and white photo of Richard Austin
Public Domain

Today on Stateside, we talk to Detroit News sports columnist John Niyo about how professional athletes found their voice and their power as teams in Michigan and across the country protest racial injustice. Plus, Michigan's chief mobility officer joins us to talk about the changes coming to the way we get around.

University of Michigan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update: August 11, 2020 at 3:16 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed today that there will not be a fall sports season. It is the first of the college football's elite "Power Five" conferences to make the decision.

University of Michigan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It’s looking like this fall will be a quiet one at the Big House in Ann Arbor. The Big Ten Conference, which includes the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, has reportedly decided not to move forward with college football this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While a formal announcement from the conference is not expected until Tuesday, Stateside spoke with Detroit Free Press sports reporter Chris Solari about what we know about the decision so far.

EMU's mascot, "Swoop."
Eastern Michigan University

The Mid-American Conference has become the first Division 1 league for college football to cancel its fall season because of COVID-19 concerns.

The conference includes Eastern, Western and Central Michigan Universities, as well as the University of Toledo.

It announced Saturday morning that all MAC schools will be postponing their fall sports programs hopefully until the spring.

Indiana Michigan football game
Creative Commons larrysphatpage

The Big Ten Wednesday became the first major college sports conference to announce its fall football schedule. But conference officials caution there is no certainty games will be played.

As protests over racial injustice in the U.S. continue, Major League Baseball is honoring an institution created 100 years ago because of its own racist past. The Negro Leagues showcased Black baseball players when they were banned from the big leagues.

MLB had to reschedule a celebration of the leagues' centennial originally set for June because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Negro Leaguers left to celebrate is dwindling. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., estimates there are about 100 players still living.

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