Badger football game canceled due to COVID-19 outbreak

    Wisconsin Badgers playing football in the snow
    October Football in Wisconsin by William Prost CC BY-NC 2.0

    The University of Wisconsin football team was forced to cancel its game scheduled for Saturday against Nebraska after a number of players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. 

    As of Wednesday morning, there have been 12 positive tests amongst players and coaching staff, including head coach Paul Chryst and Big Ten co-offensive player of the week quarterback Graham Mertz. 

    Saturday’s game, set to be played in Lincoln, Nebraska, 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,” Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry 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.”

    After the Badgers’ win over the University of Illinois last Friday, Mertz — who set a record for completions in the team’s 45-7 win — tested positive. The redshirt freshman was filling in for injured starting quarterback, senior Jack Coan. The third-string quarterback, sophomore Chase Wolf, also tested positive. 

    So far, six players and six coaches have tested positive.

    In addition to Saturday’s game being canceled, UW is calling off all football activity for seven days. UW is the first team in the Big Ten conference to be forced to pause activities due to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

    Under Big Ten medical protocols, an athlete can’t play in a game for at least 21 days after a positive test. 

    Wisconsin is next scheduled to play Purdue in Madison on Nov. 7.

    Henry Redman
    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.