The University of Wisconsin announced Wednesday that it is suspending all activities for its football team for at least seven days, meaning its scheduled game against Nebraska on Saturday will be canceled.
A statement from Wisconsin Football said that 12 people within the football program have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past five days, including head coach Paul Chryst.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said the following regarding the decision to call off Saturday's game:
"We have said from the beginning that the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members comes first. 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."
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported earlier this week that Wisconsin starting quarterback Graham Metz had tested positive for COVID-19 as well.
It was also reported that backup quarterback Chase Wolf tested positive for COVID-19, meaning redshirt junior Danny Vanden Boom is the top healthy quarterback on Wisconsin's roster.
Jack Coan, who was supposed to be the starter in 2020, is out after undergoing surgery on his foot earlier this month.
In Wisconsin's season-opening 45-7 win over Illinois last week, Mertz put up big numbers, as he completed 20 of his 21 attempts for 248 yards and five touchdowns. After testing positive for COVID-19, however, Mertz will reportedly be out a minimum of 21 days.
The 2020 Big Ten football season originally wasn't supposed to occur until the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the conference voted to play football in the fall. As a result, Big Ten play got off to a late start and didn't begin until last week.
Because of that late start, all Big Ten teams are playing a conference-only schedule of eight games. The top two teams will then meet in the Big Ten Championship Game with the other teams each playing a ninth game that week as well.
Since there is no room for rescheduling in the Big Ten because of the condensed nature of the schedule, the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game has been canceled rather than moving it to a later date.
With the No. 9 Badgers now playing at least one game fewer than most of their Big Ten counterparts, it could impact their case to make the College Football Playoff.
Wisconsin's next scheduled game is at home against the Purdue Boilermakers on Nov. 7.