The Wisconsin football team will pause all team-related activities for at least seven days due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Badgers program, according to a press release from the athletic department.
As of Wednesday morning, a total of 12 people within the Wisconsin football program had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days. That figure includes six student-athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst. Additional test results are pending.
Multiple media reports earlier this week indicated that quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice for coronavirus infection, and that backup Chase Wolf had also tested positive once and was awaiting results of a second test to confirm.
The team’s scheduled game against Nebraska on Saturday will not be played.
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, according to the release. The game will not be rescheduled.
“We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first,” Alvarez said in a statement. “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,” Blank said in a statement.
“This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday,” Chryst said in a statement. “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.