The University of Wisconsin football and men’s hockey teams are taking a two-week pause as COVID-19 issues consume campus.
A statement from UW athletic director Barry Alvarez announced the break for the two teams.
“We have been conducting our own COVID-19 testing of student-athletes and staff on a regular basis since early June and will continue to do so. Since we began testing in Athletics, our decision-making has been guided by our own test results. That continues to be our plan going forward,” Alvarez said in the statement.
“I can also confirm that our football and men’s hockey teams will take a two-week break from team activities per our COVID-19 testing protocols.”
A UW official said later Wednesday, “Test results dictated that we pause team activities for those two sports.”
UW’s athletic department last publicized its COVID-19 case numbers in early August, at which time 21 of 259 student-athletes tested from June until then were COVID-19 positive. In the roughly two weeks since most students have returned to campus, the total number of infections on campus is greater than 1,000.
The athletic department is not releasing COVID-19 test results broken down by team or date of test. Football and men's hockey are the only two sports pausing activities due to test results, per a UW official.
Both football and men’s hockey are waiting for more information from the Big Ten Conference regarding when their seasons will start. Football, along with all fall sports seasons, was postponed last month in a move that has drawn criticism from players, coaches, parents and politicians around the Big Ten landscape.
After his team’s season was postponed, UW football coach Paul Chryst allowed players to return home for two weeks before classes began. The Badgers were slated to begin workouts and other activities under the NCAA-mandated 12-hour-per-week limit for teams not playing their fall sport.
Men’s hockey started practice in two groups last Wednesday, using the four hours per week of on-ice time that the NCAA allows outside of the playing season.
UW moved all classes online Wednesday night and quarantined students in Sellery and Witte residence halls — a total of 2,230 residents — for 14 days. A UW official confirmed that no football players live in Sellery Hall or Witte Hall.
Students are not being directed to leave Madison, but for two weeks in-person study spaces are shut down, dining services will be to-go only, recreation buildings are closed and in-person gatherings of more than 10 people are canceled.
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