Two weeks into the 2020 Big Ten Football season, the dark cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a storm for one of the programs in the conference. The Wisconsin Badgers’ coronavirus outbreak has gotten worse, as six players and six coaches — including head coach Paul Chryst — have now tested positive for the virus. The program announced on Wednesday morning that it will shut down all activities for a week, which means that Saturday’s game against Nebraska will be canceled.
Per Big Ten policies, any game not played this season due to COVID-19 will be declared a no contest, meaning that a winner or loser will not be declared. The game simply does not exist and each team involved now will play only eight games with the conference not building in any contingency plans and bye weeks for cancelations.
Any player that tests positive for the coronavirus is out for a minimum of 21 days, which includes a two-week quarantine and a week of cardio training and screening in order to ramp back up to full participation.
The most notable Badgers to test positive so far have been quarterbacks Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf, leaving them to the fourth quarterback on the depth chart for the next couple of weeks with Jack Coan still out injured. Now, other teammates will be joining them as missing large chunks of time.
Purdue dealt with a COVID-19 problem last week with head coach Jeff Brohm testing positive and unable to coach the game. Michigan players and coaches were all available last week to play.
With cases continuing to rise nationwide, this will be something to keep monitoring. But less than two weeks into the Big Ten season, the conference is already being tested.