Gophers cancel Saturday’s battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe against Wisconsin

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The Minnesota Gophers football game scheduled for Saturday against Wisconsin has been canceled.

Gophers football practice canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

University officials confirmed the news to KSTP.

The University of Minnesota canceled Tuesday’s football practice due to a presumptive COVID-19 positive test Monday.

According to the university, nine student-athletes and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last five days. The university is still waiting on additional presumptive cases as well.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has always been our main priority," Athletic Director Mark Coyle said. "We have experienced an increase in positive cases recently and have made the responsible decision to pause team activities. We will continue to rely on the guidance of our medical experts as we navigate the next several days. We are doing everything we possibly can to miss the fewest amount of days possible. Our goal is to be healthy enough and ready to compete on December 5 against Northwestern."

"The health and safety of our student-athletes will always come first,” said head coach P.J. Fleck. "Like almost every program in the country, we have been affected on some level by COVID-19 every week this season, but these last few days have resulted in more cases than we have previously seen.

"I am disappointed for our student-athletes and our fans that we will not be able to compete on Saturday, but we need to focus on the health of our student-athletes and staff, which means stopping the spread of the virus. I support the decision made by our administration and medical professionals in consultation with the Big Ten Conference, and I want to thank our athletic trainers and team doctors for everything they are doing to support our program. We will return when it is determined safe to do so by medical experts."

This will be the first time a football game has not been played between the rivals since 1907.