Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Wisconsin freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive for COVID-19. All Big Ten football players are tested daily with rapid POC testing. Positive tests from the daily testing requires verification with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Wisconsin is still awaiting the results of this second test to confirm the test. The Journal-Sentinel reports that Wisconsin has encountered several false positive tests with their daily testing.
If Mertz’s second test comes back positive, Mertz would be unable to practice or compete for a minimum of 21 days.
#Badgers fans: I will tweet out link to the story once it is posted. But a player has to sit out 21 days. However, if subsequent tests (PCR are negative), that means the initial test was a false positive. See Nick Saban and Bama.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) October 25, 2020
The Badgers play Nebraska in Lincoln this Saturday afternoon. With last season’s starter Jack Coan still sidelined with a foot injury, redshirt sophomore Chase Wolf (6’1” 196 lbs.) would be the next quarterback up according to Bucky’s 5th Quarter.
The state of Wisconsin is currently experiencing record COVID-19 infections, per NBC News. Under Big Ten rules, if 5% of the team tests positive, an outbreak would result in the cancellation of the game. The Big Ten’s schedule does not contain any bye weeks to accommodate cancellations.
Friday night, Mertz completed 21 of 22 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns against Illinois, likely earning him Big Ten freshman of the week honors, if not Big Ten offensive player of the week honors, when those are announced on Monday.