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Minnesota cancels football game vs. Wisconsin amid positive tests for COVID-19

Wisconsin‘s home football game Saturday has been canceled after Minnesota paused all team-related activities as it responds to positive COVID-19 cases in the program.

The game will not be rescheduled, per Big Ten policy, and will be ruled a no contest. It’s the Badgers’ third game to be canceled this season, following matchups against Nebraska (Oct. 31) and Purdue (Nov. 7) that were called off because of positive COVID-19 cases within the Wisconsin program.

The cancellation ends the longest uninterrupted series in FBS history, with Minnesota and Wisconsin having played 113 consecutive years from 1907 to 2019.

Wisconsin, which lost last week to West Division leader Northwestern, is now down to five regular-season games, and at this point would not be eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game. The conference mandated that a team must compete in at least six games to play in the title game this season.

If the average number of Big Ten games falls below six, then teams must play no less than two fewer games than the Big Ten average to be considered for the league title. The champion will be determined in each division by its winning percentage, unless there is an unbalanced schedule because of the cancellation of games.

Minnesota had 20 players sit out because of a combination of injuries and COVID-19 issues for its 34-31 victory over Purdue on Friday. The Golden Gophers held a virtual practice on Monday.

Minnesota said it had nine student-athletes and six staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days. There were additional presumptive positives tests Tuesday, and the program is awaiting confirmation of those results.

According to a release from the school, the decision to pause football activities was made by Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle, president Joan Gabel and athletics medical director Dr. Brad Nelson after consulting with the Big Ten Conference.

ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren contributed to this report.

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