Nebraska-Wisconsin game will not be played due to COVID-19 cases

The Wisconsin football team announced Wednesday it will pause all team-related activities for at least seven days due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Badgers' program.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Wisconsin football team announced Wednesday it will pause all team-related activities for at least seven days due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Badgers’ program.

The team’s scheduled game against Nebraska on Saturday will not be played or rescheduled.

The team said on its website the decision was made by Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

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

“We thank and appreciate our athletic trainers, doctors and public health staff who are supporting the health and safety of our student-athletes and program,” said Blank.

As of Wednesday morning, a total of 12 people within the Wisconsin football program had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days. That figure includes six student-athletes and six staff members, including head coach Paul Chryst.

School officials say additional test results are pending.

“This morning I received the news that I had tested positive via a PCR test I took yesterday,” Chryst said. “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.”

“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.”

Nebraska officials have not commented on the decision at this point.

Keep in mind, the Badgers’ decision did not involve the Big Ten. This came down to what’s happening inside the Wisconsin football program. The Big Ten Conference has its own set of rules when deciding whether or not a team will stop practice or competition. The conference looks at positivity rate. The data is based on a seven day rolling average:

Test positivity rate

  • Green – 0-2%
  • Orange – 2-5%
  • Red – >5%

Population positivity rate

  • Green – 0-3.5%
  • Orange – 3.5-7.5%
  • Red – >7.5%

According to Alvarez, Wisconsin is currently in the orange-red scenario, meaning the Badgers aren’t over the five percent positivity rate as a team. The program won’t release those specific details.

The Big Ten Medical Subcommittee says if a team is in the orange/orange and orange/red range, they must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention. This includes altering practice and meeting schedules and consider the viability of continuing with scheduled competition.

Wisconsin’s decision did not come down to Big Ten protocols, but its own precaution with a potential outbreak.

This is a developing story, we will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

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