“We know a lot of work has gone into this. And so that we can play, if that is in the best interests of everyone involved, then I fully support it, “said Chryst in a video press conference with reporters. “We have the opportunity to play and you don’t want anyone to miss a game, but you don’t want something to happen that you might look back on and say that you might have been able to do something about it. … We made that up and what allows us to play. “

Chryst declined to comment on Sunday’s reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal that Redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz tested positive for coronavirus the day after making his record debut in Friday’s season opener win against Illinois. If a second test is positive, Mertz would have to miss at least three of the Badgers’ eight regular season games in this season shortened by the pandemic.

In a statement on Sunday night, Wisconsin said none of its players, coaches or staff had tested positive or reported having Covid-19 symptoms before Friday’s game, but did not mention whether a player had tested positive afterwards.

As part of the conference’s coronavirus protocols, Big Ten athletes, coaches, coaches, and others who are on the field for all exercises and games are subjected to antigen testing daily. Athletes who test positive during the daily test will need to perform a more detailed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result.

If this test is also positive, the athletes must undergo a cardiac examination and be allowed to return by a cardiac specialist appointed by their school. Athletes who test positive must sit out at least 21 days after their positive test has been confirmed before they can return to the game competition.

Should his positive test be confirmed, Mertz, who is considered to be the best quarterback recruit ever to sign with Wisconsin, will be allowed to play in Northwestern on November 21 at the earliest. He will miss games against Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan after setting a Badgers record with five touchdown passes and one incompleteness in 21 attempts in Friday’s 45-7 loss to Illinois.

Chase Wolf, who threw two passes in his Wisconsin career, would likely stand in for the Badgers in Mertz’s absence.

Every Power Five conference tests players at least three times a week, but the Big Ten’s mandatory 21-day break for players who test positive is the longest in the group. In the SEC, players who test positive are required to have at least 14 days off, while in ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 it is at least 10 days.

Last month, Michigan linebacker Josh Ross described the 21-day wait as “outrageous” considering the Big Ten season has been cut short this year. He also criticized protocols that could shut down entire programs and cost them games: namely, the rule that teams must stop activity for at least seven days if their positivity rate averages more than 5 percent over a rolling seven-day period, and their positivity rate for the population – The number of positive people on a team divided by those classified as at risk exceeds 7.5 percent.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Ross. “That could possibly ruin not only the season of the person but also the season of a team.”

Penn State Coach James Franklin said the conference’s strict protocols should help force players and coaches to be more careful.

“We have to take care of each other and remind each other to make good decisions,” Franklin said last month. “I think the other thing you realize is that the Big Ten have very strict protocols, probably the strictest protocols in college athletics and maybe even professional athletics.

“So if we don’t follow the rules, you will be out for a large number of days and miss not only exercises but games as well. And nobody wants that, especially in a reduced season. “

During his press conference on Monday, Chryst said he was confident the game would be played in Nebraska on Saturday.