- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

After an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, Wisconsin announced it will pause its football team activities for at least seven days. The program’s scheduled game against Nebraska on Saturday will not take place and will be declared a no-contest.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 people within the team have tested positive for the coronavirus. Six of those people are players, while the other half are staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst.

“We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first,” athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a release. “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.”

News broke earlier this week that Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice — once with an antigen test and again with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. That meant Mertz, and any other players who tested positive, would miss at least 21 days and undergo cardiac screening, as per Big Ten protocol.

Those measures are more stringent than some other conferences around the country. But when Chryst spoke with reporters over Zoom on Monday, he said he supported the increased vigilance required by the Big Ten to curb the spread of the virus.

Chryst received news Wednesday morning that he had tested positive for the coronavirus after taking a PCR test. Chryst must self-isolate for 10 days, according to Big Ten protocol, compared to the 21 days required for players.

“I informed my staff and the team this morning and am currently isolating at home,” Chryst said in a statement. “I had not been experiencing any symptoms and feel good as of this morning. I am disappointed for our players and coaching staff who put so much into preparing to play each week. 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.”

Wisconsin opened its season Friday against Illinois. According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, an Illini spokesperson said he is not aware of any positive cases on their team.


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