Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report from the Wisconsin State Journal. As with any positive tests in the Big Ten Conference—which uses the daily rapid antigen tests—Mertz will have to take a PCR nasal swab test to confirm the diagnosis.
Mertz had a big day for the Badgers in his first career start on Friday in Wisconsin’s 45-7 win over Illinois. He completed 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns.
If Mertz’s PCR test comes back positive, he will have to sit out of practice and games for a minimum of 21 days. That would make him ineligible to play against Nebraska on Saturday.
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said last week the Husker football team is currently being tested six days a week. The team will not be tested the day immediately following competition. If this is the case conference-wide, that would mean Sunday was the first opportunity for Mertz to be tested post-game from Friday’s matchup.
If Mertz is out against Nebraska, Chase Wolf would be the next quarterback up. Jack Coan—who Mertz started in place of against Illinois—is not expected to immediately return to play after having surgery on his right foot on Tuesday. Wolf, a sophomore, played the final drive for Wisconsin against Illinois.
Wisconsin released a statement on Sunday evening saying that the Badgers will not share COVID-19 information on individual student-athletes, but said no players or staff members tested positive on Friday (the day the team played Illinois).
Badger Coach Paul Chryst said Monday that he cannot comment (and will not comment) on anything relating to testing and COVID-19. Will the game against Nebraska be affected?
“No. I feel confident in everything that’s happening right now,” Chryst said. “There are things in place, really every conference has it. I feel confident going forward this week.”
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.