COVID-19 causes Gophers to cancel game with No. 18 Wisconsin

MINNEAPOLIS (Neth.) – Minnesota cancels its scheduled game on Saturday in Wisconsin due to positive COVID-19 incidents within its schedule, a move likely to exclude 18th seed Badgers from the Big Ten championship game.

The game between Minnesota and Wisconsin will not be rescheduled. Athletics director Mark Coyle, president Joan Gabel and medical director Brad Nelson, in Minnesota, chose not to play the game after consulting with Big Ten officials.

School officials did not say how many active cases they had.

Under this season’s Big Ten protocols, teams must play at least six games to be eligible for the league championship game. If the average number of conference games played by all Big Ten teams is less than six, programs must play no fewer than two league games less than that average to qualify.

Wisconsin (2-1) has only two games left and will not reach that minimum of six games. The Badgers faced a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this season that forced them to cancel scheduled games with Nebraska and Purdue.

The Badgers’ only remaining games are at home against No. 12 Indiana (4-1) on December 5 and in Iowa (3-2) on December 12.

This marks the first season since 1906 to not include a Wisconsin-Minnesota match-up, a decorated Big Ten rivalry in which the two teams play for Paul Bunyan’s Ax. President Theodore Roosevelt decided that the most intense rivalry between college football should not be played that year due to injuries and deaths on the field.

Wisconsin and Minnesota faced each other 129 times, making it the most played series with Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Wisconsin leads the series 61-60-8.