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Wisconsin cancels Nebraska game over COVID-19 cases; head coach tests positive

No. 9 Wisconsin said six football players and six staff members had tested positive for coronavirus over the last five days.
Credit: AP
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MADISON, Wis. — No. 9 Wisconsin has canceled its game at Nebraska on Saturday and paused all team activities for at least seven days after a dozen people within the program including coach Paul Chryst tested positive for COVID-19.

School officials said athletic director Barry Alvarez and chancellor Rebecca Blank made the decision in consultation with Big Ten officials. The game with Nebraska won’t be rescheduled.

“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."

Wisconsin said six players and six staff members had tested positive over the last five days.

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.”

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