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UW football on hold after Chryst, 11 others test positive for COVID-19

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:28 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The University of Wisconsin football team will halt all activities for at least a week after head coach Paul Chryst and eleven other players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The pause will force the cancellation of the Badgers game this Saturday against the University of Nebraska. Per Big Ten guidelines for this season, the game will be considered a no contest, rather than a forfeit, and the game will not be rescheduled.

Outside of Chryst, the university did not release the names of any of the six staff members or six players who tested positive. Chryst told NBC 15 that he and his staff all feel fine after their positive diagnosis. He and his coaches will have to quarantine for the next 10 days.

The six players that tested positive cannot return any sooner than 21 days from their initial diagnosis. Earlier in the week, reports surfaced freshman quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice, but they have never been confirmed by UW Athletics.

Beyond those dozen cases, the team is awaiting the results of even more coronavirus tests.

“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,” Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said.

Alvarez and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank made the decision to call the game in consultation with Big Ten officials, the university explained.

In UW’s statement (read below), Chryst said he learned of his positive test Wednesday morning and he is isolating at home. The head coach added he currently is not experiencing any symptoms.

“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,” he continued.

While the actual date on which football-related activities would resume, the Badgers next game after the now-canceled one against the Cornhuskers would be a home game against the Purdue Boilermakers.

The Wisconsin football team 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.

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. The game will not be rescheduled.

"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 (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 head coach Paul Chryst. 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."

Wisconsin’s next scheduled game is at home against Purdue on Nov. 7.

UW Athletics

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