The Wisconsin-Nebraska game previously scheduled for Saturday is the first in the Big Ten to be declared a no contest due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will not be made up or forfeited despite Wisconsin making the call on its own to cancel without consideration for the Big Ten's automatic thresholds.
Neither of those figures were enough to trigger an automatic cancellation that comes with a COVID-19 positivity rate of at least 5% and a population positive rate of at least 7.5% in the neighboring area. Short of that, Big Ten protocols state teams can "consider viability of continuing with scheduled competition."
"Anything below that, if local leadership -- the president, chancellor, athletic director, medical staff, public health -- any of them deem that it's inappropriate to move forward, they work in consultation with us and with opponent," said Big Ten spokesman Kerry Kenny. "No contest is the outcome."
A "no contest" means the game is not counted for either side.
There was some outcry on social media, primarily from Nebraska fans who believed that the Cornhuskers should receive a forfeit victory because the Badgers made the decision unilaterally.
Big Ten athletic directors voted unanimously last week to allow schools to cancel a game when they deemed positivity rates were too high but fell short of the aforementioned "red/red" threshold that would trigger an automatic shutdown.
On its own, Wisconsin decided to cancel the Nebraska game and shut down the program for a minimum of seven days.
"We just felt that with the number of positives in that short a timeline, the chancellor and I felt we have an issue that we had to make this decision and get our arms around this virus now before it got out of hand," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said.
Infected players will be out 21 days from the date of their original positive antigen test. It is known that Mertz first tested positive on Saturday. Coaches will be out a minimum of 10 days. Chryst said he tested positive on Wednesday morning. That would put Chryst and those five other Wisconsin coaches back on the field next Saturday morning at the earliest -- hours before a 3:30 p.m. ET home game against Purdue.
"This is one part of this virus that hits you a number of different ways," Chryst said. "We don't know, do we have one super spreader?"
Alvarez would not speculate whether the Purdue game is in danger as well.
"That's something we'll have determine," he said. "We'll have to see where we are before we make that decision. Obviously, we can start game planning now. You can have Zoom meetings, etc., but you still have to get outside and move around."
Wisconsin and Nebraska will now play a maximum of eight regular-season games.
The Big Ten started last week with hopes of getting through a nine-week season with no byes. Big Ten tiebreakers state teams must play at least six games to be eligible to win a division. That is if all Big Ten teams average six games.