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Wisconsin issues statement amid reports Mertz tests positive

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin says nobody who played in the season opener Friday night tested positive for COVID-19 or reported having any symptoms beforehand, amid weekend reports that quarterback Graham Mertz has tested positive.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal reported Mertz would be taking a second test to determine whether his first test was a false positive. The Journal-Sentinel reported Mertz’s positive test came Saturday, one day after the Badgers’ 45-7 home victory over Illinois.

School officials say they won’t release any testing information regarding individual athletes due to privacy concerns.

Big Ten protocols say that athletes who test positive through point-of-contact daily testing must take a polymerase chain reaction test to confirm the first result. If that second test confirms a positive result, the athlete can’t play again for at least 21 days.

The ninth-ranked Badgers visit Nebraska, host Purdue and travel to No. 13 Michigan in their next three games.

All athletes who test positive must self-isolate for 10 days. The athlete also must undergo comprehensive cardiac testing and then receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university before returning to action.

Wisconsin said it’s continuing to conduct daily antigen testing for players, coaches and selected support staff.

Mertz set a school record for completion percentage and matched a school record for touchdown passes in a game with five in his first career start. The redshirt freshman went 20 of 21 for 248 yards.

He was pressed into action because returning starter Jack Coan underwent foot surgery on Oct. 7, leaving him out indefinitely. Wisconsin’s only other scholarship quarterbacks are sophomore Chase Wolf and junior Danny Vanden Boom.

Wolf entered the Illinois game late in the fourth quarter but didn’t attempt a pass.

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