MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Badgers football team will pause all team-related activities for at least a week and Saturday’s game against Nebraska will not be played.
The announcement is in response to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Badgers’ program.
On Tuesday, multiple reports indicated that starting quarterback Graham Mertz’s second coronavirus test had come back positive. This comes after news that back-up quarterback Chase Wolf also tested positive.
According to a release, the joint decision to pause football activities and cancel Saturday’s game was made by Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank in consultation with the Big Ten Conference.
The Nebraska game will not be rescheduled.
“We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members come first,” Alvarez says. “Over the past several days we have seen a rising number of student-athletes and staff contract the virus. The responsible thing for us to do is to pause football-related activities for at least seven days.”
“We thank and appreciate our athletic trainers, doctors, and public health staff who are supporting the health and safety of our student-athletes and program,” says Blank.
As of Wednesday morning, officials say 12 people within the Wisconsin football program had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past five days.
That includes six student-athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst. Additional test results are pending.
“This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday,” Chryst says. “I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home. I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning.
“I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week. But the safety of everyone in our program has to be our top priority and I support the decision made to pause our team activities.”
Wisconsin’s next scheduled game is at home against Purdue on Nov. 7.