The Minnesota Golden Gophers announced Monday that Saturday’s football game against the Northwestern Wildcats will no longer be played to allow the program to focus on containing an outbreak of COVID-19 that has spread among their players and staff.
This is the second consecutive game that Minnesota has been forced to cancel this season, with the Nov. 28 game against Wisconsin also being wiped from the schedule. Since Nov. 19, a total of 47 individuals — 21 student-athletes and 26 staff members — have tested positive for COVID-19.
Here are the COVID-19 updates we have received since the start of last week:
- Tuesday, Nov. 24: Minnesota announced a pause in all team-related football activities and the cancellation of the Wisconsin game after 15 individuals — nine student-athletes and six staff members — tested positive for COVID-19 in a five-day span.
- Wednesday, Nov. 25: 10 more individuals — three student-athletes and seven staff members — had tested positive, bringing the total number of positive cases up to 25.
- Saturday, Nov. 28: 15 more individuals — eight-student athletes and seven staff members — had tested positive, bringing the total number of positive cases up to 40.
- Monday, Nov. 30: Seven more individuals — one student-athlete and six staff members — have tested positive, bringing the total number of positive cases up to 47.
Minnesota is the third Big Ten team to have to cancel two games this season. Wisconsin was the first, having to cancel games against Nebraska on Oct. 31 and Purdue on Nov. 7 after 30 individuals — 17 student-athletes and 13 staff — had tested positive since Oct. 21. Then Maryland was forced to cancel games against Ohio State on Nov. 14 and Michigan State on Nov. 21 after 30 individuals — 23 student-athletes and seven staff — had tested positive since Nov. 4. Both programs were able to return to game action after a two-week hiatus.
The Gophers’ next scheduled game is a road trip to Lincoln on Dec. 12 to face Nebraska. If Minnesota is cleared to play, they will take the field without Rashod Bateman, who opted out of the rest of the season following the university’s decision to cancel the Wisconsin game.