University of Wisconsin pauses football activities due to COVID-19
© Getty Images

The University of Wisconsin paused its football activities on Wednesday because of an increased number of COVID-19 cases within the program.

Officials announced the program will stop activities for at least seven days, including canceling the Saturday game against Nebraska, which will not be rescheduled.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 people in the program tested positive, including six student athletes and six staff, while additional tests are pending. Head coach Paul Chryst was one of the staff members who tested positive.

ADVERTISEMENT

The university’s director of athletics, Barry Alvarez, and Chancellor Rebecca Blank decided to pause activities and cancel the game after consulting the Big Ten Conference.

"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,” he continued. “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 team’s next scheduled game is a home game against Purdue on Nov. 7. 

The game cancelation comes as Wisconsin is experiencing a major coronavirus outbreak, ranking third in the nation for the most cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin reported on Tuesday its highest single-day counts of deaths, hospitalizations and cases, with health official Ryan Westergaard calling it a “nightmare.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE had praised the return of Big Ten football this year after the conference initially canceled the season. During the first presidential debate, he declared that he “brought back Big Ten football.”

The Big Ten conference also includes football teams in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which along with Wisconsin are swing states in the election that’s less than a week away.