For the second time in 130 years, the Gophers won’t play Wisconsin in football.
A spike in COVID-19 cases among the Gophers forced the sports department to halt all team activity, abandoning Saturday’s game in Madison. This marked the first break in a border rivalry since 1906 since 1890. The teams will not postpone the game which is considered a no-contest.
According to a publication by Gophers, nine players and six staff have tested positive in the past five days, and an unknown number of suspected positive tests on Tuesday are pending confirmation by PCR.
The Gophers announced a practice break for the first time late Monday evening. A press release stated that the team would go virtual while waiting for confirmatory testing for new positive daily antigen tests. The hope then was to return to training as usual on Wednesday to prepare for the trip to Camp Randall in case any of these tests were found to be false positive.
Instead, the team announced on Tuesday afternoon that the game could not continue as planned, resulting in the Gophers ‘first no-contest of the year and the Badgers’ third. The Badgers canceled games against Nebraska and Purdue earlier this season, and this third game is now putting them under the six-game threshold to qualify for the Big Ten Championship – despite a loss to the undefeated Northwest last week had already dampened their chances.
The Gophers missed 22 players in the Purdue game last week, while coaches P. . J. . Fleck said half is for COVID-19 positive testing – some from a few weeks ago where players are still following the Big Ten’s 21-day sit-out policy – and the other half for injuries.
The Gophers test 170 soccer players and staff every day and require 60 positive tests out of a total of 1. 190 per week, plus 13 positive players and / or staff for not being able to play. But having more than 24 positive tests in the past seven days and six positive players / staff would enable the Gophers to reevaluate the game ahead. That’s exactly what Wisconsin did when it canceled its second game of the season with 12 positive players and staff.
This was not a conference-enforced cancellation, but a decision made by Gophers Sports Director Mark Coyle, University President Joan Gabel, and Sports Department Medical Director Dr. . Brad Nelson in consultation with the Big Ten.
Nelson said the team saw a « sudden surge » in positive tests, according to the publication. In addition to the daily testing program, the Gophers will run two PCR tests per week for all soccer players and staff to help achieve a return to training and competition.
« The health and safety of our student athletes, coaches and staff has always been our top priority, » Coyle said in the press release. « . . . We do everything to miss as few days as possible. Our goal is to be healthy enough and ready to compete by December. 5 against Northwestern. «
Gophers trainer P. . J. . Fleck said in a statement that his teams’ problems match those of teams across the country. More than 90 games have been canceled or postponed this season.
« I am disappointed with our athletes and our fans that we cannot compete on Saturday, » said Fleck according to the publication. « But we need to focus on the health of our student athletes and staff, which means stopping the virus from spreading. I support the decision. «
The Gophers (2-3) have games against Northwestern and Nebraska left before a ninth game against an Eastern team has yet to be determined based on the Big Ten rating. Wisconsin (2-1) left Indiana and Iowa before the ninth game, the same week as the Big Ten championship.
Minnesota Golden Gophers Soccer, Wisconsin Badgers Soccer, Big Ten Conference, American Football, Minnesota – Wisconsin Soccer Rivalry
World News – USA – Gophers cancel Saturday’s game against Wisconsin due to COVID-19
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