MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WXOW) - There won't be a fight for Paul Bunyan's ax this year.
The University of Minnesota announced late Tuesday afternoon that the scheduled November 28 game against Wisconsin is canceled and won't be rescheduled.
The Gophers said in a statement on their football website that the game will be ruled a no contest.
It said the team is pausing all team-related activities in response to COVID-19 cases in the program. It said nine student-athletes and six staff members tested positive in the past five days. There are some additional presumptive positive tests that happened on Tuesday. The team is awaiting results of those tests.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has always been our main priority," said Director of Athletics Mark Coyle. "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 university said they would implement PCR testing two times each week for members of the football program in addition to the Big Ten's program of daily antigen testing.
With the cancellation, Wisconsin is no longer be eligible for the Big Ten Championship, because they won't have played enough games.