A COVID-19 outbreak that includes head coach Paul Chryst is forcing the University of Wisconsin to shut down football activities for a week and cancel this Saturday’s game against the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.
As of Wednesday morning (Oct. 28), 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 Chryst and, as reported in the press, quarterbacks Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf. 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 via press 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.
“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.”
The joint decision to pause football activities and cancel Saturday’s game was made by Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, in consultation with the Big Ten Conference.
“We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first,” Alvarez said via press statement. “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 via press statement.
Wisconsin’s next scheduled game is at home against Purdue on Nov. 7. However, given today’s shutdown, the earliest the team could return to practice is Nov. 4–and that’s only if no more positive tests are registered.