Minnesota Releases Statement After Cancelling Game vs Northwestern

The Minnesota Gophers have canceled their scheduled Saturday matchup with he Northwestern Wildcats. Positive COVID tests have continued across the football team, now reaching 47 positives since November 19 (21 students, 26 staff).

Here is the statement from the University of Minnesota Athletic Department:

Minnesota Athletics announced today that its Dec. 5 game against Northwestern has been canceled and all team-related activities remain paused. The game will not be rescheduled and will be ruled a no contest, per Big Ten policy this season. 

The decision to cancel the game against Northwestern was made by Director of Athletics Mark Coyle, President Joan Gabel and Gopher Athletics’ Medical Director Dr. Brad Nelson after consulting with the Big Ten Conference.  

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority,” said Coyle. “The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus. We will now shift our priority to doing everything possible to compete at Nebraska on December 12, and our decisions will continue to be guided by our medical experts.”

In addition to the Big Ten’s established daily antigen testing, Minnesota announced last week that it was implementing additional PCR testing. Minnesota will also conduct all meetings virtually for the remaining duration of the season.

Minnesota first announced a pause in all team-related activities on Nov. 24, after 15 individuals (nine student-athletes and six staff members) tested positive for COVID-19 during a five-day span from Nov. 19 – Nov. 23. The program announced 10 additional positive tests (three student-athletes and seven staff members) on Nov. 25 and an additional 15 positive tests (eight student athletes and seven staff members) on Nov. 28. 

Since Nov. 19, the program has experienced 47 positive cases, which includes 21 student-athletes and 26 staff (anyone in daily testing who is not a student-athlete) members. 

Athletics is working with MDH on its positive cases and is continuing to follow all CDC and MDH guidelines. Minnesota’s next update will be released on Thursday, Dec. 3.

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