Wisconsin-Minnesota Game Canceled Due To COVID-19

Badgers No Longer Eligible To Play For Big Ten Championship

Wisconsin Badgers hold up Paul Bunyan's Axe
Wisconsin punter Connor Allen (90) holds up Paul Bunyan’s Axe during the post game celebration after Wisconsin beat Minnesota 38-17 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Minneapolis. Stacy Bengs/AP Photo

For the third time in five weeks, the Wisconsin Badgers will miss a game due to the coronavirus.

The Badgers were set to battle the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday in Madison for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, but the game has been canceled.

On Tuesday, Minnesota’s Athletic Department announced it would suspend football activities after nine players and six staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

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In a statement, Minnesota’s Athletic Department said it’s waiting for the results of additional tests presumed to be positive.

The game will be ruled a no contest. Per Big Ten rules, Wisconsin is no longer eligible to play for the conference title. The Badgers were already facing long odds to win the conference after losing Saturday to Northwestern. The Wildcats lead the Big Ten West.

UW Athletics tweeted a statement from Badgers head coach Paul Chryst: “First and foremost I hope that everyone in the Minnesota football program is safe and healthy and those affected make a complete recovery. It goes without saying that we are disappointed in not being able to play this weekend. This is a great rivalry that is exciting for players and fans on both sides.”

Chryst said his team will continue to practice this week and prepare for its next game against Indiana Dec. 5.

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season were released Tuesday. Wisconsin came in at No. 16.

After a stellar opening game, Wisconsin canceled match ups against Nebraska and Purdue due to a coronavirus outbreak during which more than two dozen players and staff members tested positive for the virus.

Wisconsin-Minnesota is the most-played rivalry in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.