MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin football team announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28 it will pause all team-related activities for at least seven days due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Badgers program.
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. The game will not be rescheduled.
Alvarez issued the following statement in a news release:
"We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first. 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."
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.
The announcement followed reports that starting quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice – which would require him to sit out at least 21 days under Big Ten protocols – and that backup quarterback Chase Wolf had tested positive at least once.
Wisconsin already had lost 2019 starting quarterback Jack Coan to foot surgery that has left him out indefinitely. The Badgers’ only other scholarship quarterback is junior Danny Vanden Boom.
“I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week," Chryst said. "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.
Associated Press contributed to this report.