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.
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.
Nightmare scenario: What happens when outbreak hits QB room?
What happens if an outbreak hits a team’s quarterback room? “Obviously this year there’s some things that will be unique,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said Monday without specifically discussing his players’ test results. “I think there certainly were those questions after the decision was made,” Ohio State team physician Jim Borchers said last week. And that’s all we really paid attention to.”Big Ten protocols say that athletes who test positive through point-of-contact daily testing must take a polymerase chain reaction test to confirm the first result. While Wisconsin awaits answers, Big Ten teams continue reminding quarterbacks about the potential risks inherent in this unusual season.
Wisconsin coach Chryst staying quiet on QB Mertz's status
“I will not, cannot and should not therefore comment about anything dealing with our testing and coronavirus,” Chryst said Monday. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal both reported that Mertz had tested positive. The Journal-Sentinel reported Mertz’s positive test came Saturday, one day after the Badgers’ 45-7 season-opening home victory over Illinois. If that second test confirms a positive result, the athlete can’t play again for at least 21 days. Chryst said he has no problem with the Big Ten’s 21-day policy, which is more stringent than those of most conferences regarding players who test positive.