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HomeTravelMichigan women have travel woes getting home after first-round March Madness loss

Michigan women have travel woes getting home after first-round March Madness loss

Kansas guard Wyvette Mayberry, center, celebrates with guard S’Mya Nichols (12) after winning 81-72 over Michigan in overtime of a first-round college basketball game in the women’s NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 23, 2024. Michigan guard Elissa Brett (0) and guard Laila Phelia (5) react. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
The Michigan women’s basketball team had a hard time getting home after its overtime loss to Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The team played in Los Angeles on Saturday and was supposed to take a charter flight back to Michigan that evening along with the school’s band and cheerleaders. That didn’t go according to plan.
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The Wolverines got to the airport and sat outside for nearly 3 hours waiting for a second pilot.
“Due to nationwide weather delays on Saturday and nationwide crew shortages, the charter airline had to ferry in the captain from Texas to crew Michigan’s flight home,” NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham Wright told The Associated Press.
Michigan’s travel party finally started going through security screening to get on the plane at 8:30 p.m. PDT and then boarded an hour later. After sitting on the plane for 75 minutes, the team found out the pilot was over his allotted flight time for the day, so the plane couldn’t take off.
“The carrier told NCAA staff that the officers and crew were willing to extend to get Michigan home. NCAA staff and Short’s Travel worked with the airline and the school, and believed the flight would still be able to depart that evening,” Durham Wright said. “However, after the captain eventually arrived and the team boarded the aircraft, he determined he would no longer extend, noting fatigue. Safety is paramount.”
To make matters worse, the buses that had dropped the team off at the airport had left, which goes against NCAA rules. That forced the team to take ride-share cars back to its hotel.
Staff members waited 45 minutes for the buses return to transport the team’s luggage.
Players took to social media to share their plight.
The Wolverines returned to the airport on Sunday morning and, after about an hour delay, finally were on their way home. They arrived back in Michigan at 7 p.m. EDT without further issues.
“We regret the inconvenience for Michigan’s program and apologize for their experience, which did not meet NCAA expectations,” Durham Wright said.
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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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