Illinois hires Bielema as coach to lift struggling program
Bielema is returning to the Big Ten and his home state to coach Illinois. Illinois hired the former Wisconsin and Arkansas coach, hoping he can turn around a program with nine straight losing seasons. Illinois said Bielema will receive a six-year contract with an annual salary starting at $4.2 million, and begin work immediately. He became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season when Wisconsin went 12-1 in 2006. In January, the New York Giants and new head coach Joe Judge hired Bielema as outside linebackers coach and senior assistant.
No. 10 Wisconsin cancels game with Purdue due to outbreak
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin has canceled Saturday's home game against Purdue, the second straight game the 10th-ranked Badgers have called off as COVID-19 cases within their team continue to rise. Ten players and 11 staffers have tested positive over the last seven days. This marks the second straight week that Wisconsin has canceled a football game due to the outbreak. They called that game off on Oct. 28, the same day they announced that coach Paul Chryst had tested positive. This second cancellation gives Wisconsin little room for error in its quest to reach a second straight conference championship game.
Athletic director: Wisconsin has 22 positive COVID-19 cases
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the total number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Badgers’ football program has increased to 22. Alvarez told ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday that 12 football players and 10 staffers have tested positive. School officials updated that number Thursday by saying two more staffers and one additional player had tested positive. The Thursday update indicated the football program had a total of 16 active cases, and that 15 of them had come since Oct. 24. School officials also said Saturday that the 22 active cases include seven confirmed positive tests (five players, two staffers) since that Thursday update.
No. 9 Wisconsin cancels Nebraska game; Chryst tests positive
9 Wisconsin canceled its game at Nebraska and paused team activities for at least a week after a dozen people in the program — including coach Paul Chryst — tested positive for COVID-19. Alvarez said the team had only one positive test two days before Friday's season-opening 45-7 victory over Illinois and 12 positive tests afterward. Alvarez said Wisconsin had reached the “orange/red” levels in the Big Ten protocols based on its rate of positive tests. The announcement followed reports that quarterback Graham Mertz had tested positive twice – which would require him to sit out at least 21 days under Big Ten protocols – and that backup quarterback Chase Wolf had tested positive at least once. “We’ll see where we are as far as testing, and we’ll make that decision as we move closer to the game,” Alvarez said.
With Big Ten reversal, Trump aims to score in battlegrounds
For weeks, Trump allied himself with the effort. He publicly and privately prodded the conference to reverse its Aug. 11 decision to play football next spring. When the conference announced Wednesday it would begin play Oct. 23 under strict coronavirus prevention protocols, Trump was eager to capitalize politically. Big Ten officials cited improvement in same-day coronavirus testing capabilities as a key factor in their reversal. Let’s get back in the game,” flashes on the screen amid images of empty stadiums at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and elsewhere.
Spring college football: When? How much? Who plays?
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said before a spring football season is planned, there has to be a discussion about fall 2021. He said conversations about a spring football season have been minimal, but there has been a theme. If the NFL does nothing to accommodate spring college football some of the sure-things are almost certain to leave. There is so much to sort out, including the NCAA signing off on a spring football season. At this point in time, we'll see.__Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
NCAA encourages day off from college sports on election day
The NCAA on Friday encouraged its 1,100 member colleges and universities to give athletes the day off from sports on election day, responding to grassroots movements of activism from players and coaches. UCLA followed with a similar announcement and Wisconsin said Friday it would also skip athletic activities on election day. The NCAA did not mandate a day off for athletes on election day. Instead, the NCAA encouraged schools to assist students in registering to vote and to give them a day off from athletics to vote. Though MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher released a statement Friday saying the schools, conference and ESPN will work to move the game to a different date,The Division I college basketball season will start about a week after election day.