MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Badgers football team is practicing again this week.
This comes after the Big 10 Conference announced plans to resume the season last week.
“This year will be different in many ways in kind of the day-to-day and the protocols and what we need to do, but we're been given an opportunity and it's our chance to take full advantage of this opportunity,” said Paul Chryst, UW-Madison's head football coach.
Chryst spoke with reporters Wednesday for the first time since the Big 10 announced the resumption of the season. He said players will have to be careful about getting the virus if they want to play.
“I think we've had some that if they were to do it over again then you know, maybe they invited someone into their bubble or something came in and that's how they got it, others may not know how they got it,” Chryst said.
42 players and staff with the team have tested positive for the virus, 29 in the first 15 days of September according to Public Health Madison and Dane County.
“That's going to be the battle all year long,” Chryst said.
Players who have come into contact with someone who has had the virus have been required to quarantine for two weeks. Most of them in apartments or dorm rooms. Chryst said that's been tough on players, some who have had up to three different quarantine periods this summer.
The Big 10 will have daily testing for the team.
“When the daily testing became available to us i think it changed really the possibility of doing what we can do, especially in a contact sport,” Chryst said. “The way I'm understanding it is when you get on the field it's a clean field, everyone on the field is not shedding the virus, it can't pass it along, and therefore i think it gives a clarity and a certainty to that day and that event.”
According to the Big 10 players, who test positive will undergo cardiac screening for a COVID related complication. That screening will be part of research on coronavirus. Players will have to sit out at least three weeks if they test positive.
The Big 10 also plans to evaluate practices and competitions at schools based on test positive percentages.
Several college football games outside of the conference — like Notre Dame's game versus Wake Forest this weekend — have been postponed for positive tests.
The badgers first game is scheduled for October 24th versus the University of Illinois.
“It's been great being with our players, we had the pause and workouts and we're starting to get more guys back each day, it's fun and we appreciate what they're doing and we're getting ready for a season,” Chryst said.
There will be no fans in stands for Badgers games this year, and the Public Health Madison and Dane County asks people not to gather for game-day festivities.
The Badgers released their roster for the season and starting safety Reggie Pearson isn't on it.
Chryst said in the offseason Pearson discovered a physical condition and has not been cleared to play. He is still attending the University.