As the week began, the possibility was growing that the Badgers wouldn’t be able to play their Saturday home game against the Minnesota Gophers because of rising COVID numbers in the Minnesota football program. That became reality on Tuesday when the school’s athletic department paused all football team related activities because of positive coronavirus cases within the program.
The decision was made by Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle, along with university President Joan Gabel and athletics’ medical director Brad Nelson. The program will now focus on stopping the spread of the virus.
It’s the same decision that the University of Wisconsin was forced into earlier this season when they had to cancel games against Nebraska and Purdue. It’s the third time in this abbreviated season that the Badgers will lose a game to COVID and now will most likely be ineligible for any shot at the Big Ten title game.
According to Big Ten rules, teams must play at least six games to qualify for the title game. The Badgers will fall short of that.
The Badgers won last year’s matchup, 38-17 in Minneapolis, securing possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe. That trophy will now stay in Wisconsin’s trophy case for another year until the teams meet next season.