Illinois hires Bielema as coach to lift struggling program
Bielema is returning to the Big Ten and his home state to coach Illinois. Illinois hired the former Wisconsin and Arkansas coach, hoping he can turn around a program with nine straight losing seasons. Illinois said Bielema will receive a six-year contract with an annual salary starting at $4.2 million, and begin work immediately. He became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season when Wisconsin went 12-1 in 2006. In January, the New York Giants and new head coach Joe Judge hired Bielema as outside linebackers coach and senior assistant.
Wisconsin-Purdue game off amid Badgers' coronavirus outbreak
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin has canceled Saturday's home game against Purdue, the second straight game the 10th-ranked Badgers have called off as COVID-19 cases within their team continue to rise. This marks the second consecutive week that Wisconsin has canceled a game due to the virus outbreak. Ten players and 11 staffers have tested positive over the last seven days. The second cancellation gives Wisconsin little room for error in its quest to reach a second straight conference championship game. The Big Ten requires teams to play at least six games to be eligible for the league championship game.
Athletic director: Wisconsin has 22 positive COVID-19 cases
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the total number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Badgers’ football program has increased to 22. Alvarez told ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday that 12 football players and 10 staffers have tested positive. School officials updated that number Thursday by saying two more staffers and one additional player had tested positive. The Thursday update indicated the football program had a total of 16 active cases, and that 15 of them had come since Oct. 24. School officials also said Saturday that the 22 active cases include seven confirmed positive tests (five players, two staffers) since that Thursday update.
Wisconsin cancels Nebraska game; Chryst tests positive
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. “This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday,” Chryst said in a statement. 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. “I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week," Chryst said.
With Big Ten reversal, Trump aims to score in battlegrounds
For weeks, Trump allied himself with the effort. He publicly and privately prodded the conference to reverse its Aug. 11 decision to play football next spring. When the conference announced Wednesday it would begin play Oct. 23 under strict coronavirus prevention protocols, Trump was eager to capitalize politically. Big Ten officials cited improvement in same-day coronavirus testing capabilities as a key factor in their reversal. Let’s get back in the game,” flashes on the screen amid images of empty stadiums at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and elsewhere.
Spring college football: When? How much? Who plays?
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said before a spring football season is planned, there has to be a discussion about fall 2021. He said conversations about a spring football season have been minimal, but there has been a theme. If the NFL does nothing to accommodate spring college football some of the sure-things are almost certain to leave. There is so much to sort out, including the NCAA signing off on a spring football season. At this point in time, we'll see.__Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
NCAA encourages day off from college sports on election day
The NCAA on Friday encouraged its 1,100 member colleges and universities to give athletes the day off from sports on election day, responding to grassroots movements of activism from players and coaches. UCLA followed with a similar announcement and Wisconsin said Friday it would also skip athletic activities on election day. The NCAA did not mandate a day off for athletes on election day. Instead, the NCAA encouraged schools to assist students in registering to vote and to give them a day off from athletics to vote. Though MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher released a statement Friday saying the schools, conference and ESPN will work to move the game to a different date,The Division I college basketball season will start about a week after election day.