42 Badger players, staff test positive for coronavirus

NCAA Football
Virus Outbreak Big Ten Football

FILE – In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. Big Ten presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the football season until spring, bringing some clarity to a key question raised in a lawsuit brought by a group of Nebraska football players. The vote breakdown was revealed Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in the Big Ten’s court filing in response to the lawsuit. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Forty-two players and staff with the Wisconsin football team have tested positive for COVID-19 as the Big Ten makes plans to get the season started.

Public Health Madison & Dane County says the 42 people tested positive since June when athletes and staff returned to campus. Twenty-nine of the positive tests were from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15.

Health officials in Madison and Dane County are urging fans not to gather to watch football games when the Badgers begin their season in October.

“Of course it’s disappointing that something as well-loved as gathering to watch Badger football games can’t happen this year,” Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a statement. “But the reality is that it’s not possible to have a traditional football season without substantially increasing COVID-19 transmission. We value people’s health and lives over sports, and we hope that UW does as well.”

The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors reversed an earlier decision to shut down all fall sports because of the coronavirus. The council voted unanimously to go ahead with the league’s 2020 football season beginning Oct. 23 or Oct. 24.

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