COVID-19 fears have put Wisconsin on the brink of losing out at a shot at the Big Ten title, as the school announced Saturday's game vs. Purdue has been canceled.
The reason, per a release the school, is 27 positive coronavirus tests since Oct. 24. The list supposedly includes 15 football players, as well as head coach Paul Chryst.
While schools don't officially release player names, starting quarterback Graham Mertz and backup QB Chase Wolf are also reportedly among those infected.
"I share in the disappointment of our student-athletes and staff," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement. "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."
The Badgers are 1-0 and have already had one game called off for the same reason (Nebraska, Oct. 31). Given that the Big Ten started late and is playing a condensed eight-game schedule, the Badgers can't afford another cancellation. Not if they want to actually play for something meaningful, anyway.
They are down to six games with no possibility of makeup dates -- so Wisconsin will need to play out the schedule to be eligible for the Big Ten Championship Game.
Not only can't the Badgers cancel, they have to hope their remaining opponents also come up with negative tests. Anyone who tests positive must sit out for 21 days, per Big Ten guidelines.
"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," Alvarez said.