Updated: November 24, 2020 05:26 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 05:20 PM
The battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not be held this year due to COVID-19.
The Gophers announced late Tuesday afternoon that Saturday's game with the Badgers has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 cases in the Gophers program. Big Ten policy for this season will not allow the game to be rescheduled, and the game will be ruled a no contest.
The University of Minnesota said the Gopher football team will pause all team-related activities in response to the positive cases. Nine student-athletes and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last five days, and there were were additional presumptive positive tests on Tuesday.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has always been our main priority," Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said in a news release.
"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," Coyle said.
The Gophers have already been conducting daily antigen testing and said they will now begin twice-weekly PCR testing for members of the football program.
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