“I share in the disappointment of our student-athletes and staff,” Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “We have seen a level of improvement in our testing numbers, but not enough to give us confidence to resume normal activities and play our game on Saturday. We will continue to test regularly, take the proper health-related precautions and look forward to getting our team back on the field as soon as possible.”
After Wisconsin initially announced the 12 positive tests, Alvarez said Saturday that the team’s number of cases had increased to 22. The Badgers paused team activities starting Wednesday in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, putting up players in hotel rooms to keep them isolated from others.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin announced that team activities remain paused and that the number of positive tests among the team has risen to 27 (15 players, 12 staff members). Five of those positive tests have occurred since Saturday.
“While we looked forward to our game this weekend against Wisconsin, we understand the Badgers’ decision to cancel based on medical advice and their need to control any additional transmission of the virus within their team and staff,” Purdue Athletic Director Mike Bobinski said Tuesday. “The health, well-being and safety of all student-athletes, coaches and staff remains the top priority for the entire Big Ten and will continue to guide decision-making.”
Any player who tests positive must sit out for at least 21 days under the Big Ten’s coronavirus protocols. Heralded quarterback Graham Mertz and his backup, Chase Wolf, both reportedly are among the Wisconsin players who tested positive. Chryst will not be allowed to be around the team until at least Saturday because he must complete a 10-day isolation period.
Wisconsin now is in danger of not being eligible for the Big Ten championship game. According to conference policy put in place for this season, teams “must play at least six games to be considered for participation in the championship game. However, if the average number of conference games played by all teams falls below six, then teams must play no less than two fewer conference games than the average number of conference games played by all teams to be considered.”
The Badgers’ next scheduled game is Nov. 14 at Michigan. The school said it will next provide an update about the team’s situation on Saturday.