Wisconsin announced on Tuesday that its football game this weekend against Purdue has been canceled and team activities remain paused indefinitely because of the number of positive coronavirus cases within the program.
The Badgers originally canceled the game against Nebraska on Oct. 31, after the program had 12 positive tests, including starting quarterback Graham Mertz and head coach Paul Chryst. That number of positive cases then rose to 22, made up of 12 players and 10 staff members.
Athletic director Barry Alvarez initially announced the team would pause football activities for seven days on Oct. 28, but now says it will be indefinite as the program deals with the outbreak and it is canceling its second game with no plans to reschedule.
“I share in the disappointment of our student-athletes and staff,” Alvarez said. “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.”
There have been five positive tests since Oct. 31, and there are now 27 total active cases within the program, which includes 15 student-athletes and 12 staff members.
The program has said that Chryst could return on Thursday, and there has been no change in that, according to a school spokesman.
Wisconsin will provide another update on the team’s status on Saturday.
With two canceled games, Wisconsin is now teetering on the brink of not being able to compete in the Big Ten championship. In order to compete in the game, a team must play at least six games. If Wisconsin is able to play every remaining game on its schedule, it will have played a total of six games this year.
If the average number of Big Ten games falls below six, then teams must play no less than two fewer games than the Big Ten average to be considered for the league championship. The champion will be determined in each division by its winning percentage, unless there is an unbalanced schedule because of the cancellation of games. If that’s the case, there are several scenarios in play.
If two or more teams have the same number of conference losses, but a different number of wins, head-to-head results will take precedence over winning percentage. If the canceled game was between the two teams with the same winning percentage, the records of the two tied teams will be compared based on winning percentage within their division.
Information from ESPN’s Heather Dinich was used in this report.