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With 27 COVID-19 cases, Wisconsin cancels again; Michigan game could be in jeopardy

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Wisconsin canceled its game Saturday against Purdue, the second straight the Badgers will miss as it deals with a large number of COVID-19 cases.

It is unclear how this will affect Wisconsin’s prime-time game at Michigan on Nov. 14.

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst has tested positive for COVID-19.

Wisconsin on Tuesday said there are 27 active cases in the program, including 15 athletes and 12 staff. Badgers football coach Paul Chryst revealed last Wednesday he had tested positive for the coronavirus, and earlier last week quarterback Graham Mertz had his COVID-19 positive test confirmed. Per Big Ten rules, Mertz must sit out a minimum of 21 days, but he was expected to be available to face Michigan.

Last week, Wisconsin paused all-team related activities for at least seven days because 12 within the program had tested positive, including Chryst, which pushed the decision to cancel the game with Nebraska.

Although the program did not reach the Big Ten’s red/red level with team and population positive rates that automatically puts a team in a seven-day pause, Badgers administrators made the call. The program remains paused.

"I share in the disappointment of our student-athletes and staff," athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a release, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We have seen a level of improvement in our testing numbers, but not enough to give us confidence to resume normal activities and play our game on Saturday.

"We will continue to test regularly, take the proper health-related precautions and look forward to getting our team back on the field as soon as possible."

After initially postponing fall sports in mid-August, the Big Ten presidents and chancellors changed course and launched a nine-game football season that started the weekend of Oct. 24. If a team cannot play because of test positivity rates within the team, the game is considered no contest, not a forfeit.

Wisconsin's scheduled game last week was against Nebraska.

Twitter: @chengelis