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Gophers cancel Dec. 5 football game with Northwestern due to ongoing COVID outbreak

It marks the second consecutive cancellation for the Gophers, after the Wisconsin game was called off last weekend.
Credit: KARE

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota football Gophers have canceled a second consecutive game due to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the program.

U of M Director of Athletics Mark Coyle, University President Joan Gabel and Gophers Medical Director Dr. Brad Nelson made the decision to scrap the Dec. 5 game with Northwestern after consulting with the Big Ten Conference. 

The game will not be rescheduled, and is considered a "no contest" as per Big Ten policy. 

Since Nov. 19, the football program has experienced 47 positive cases of coronavirus in players and staffers, the most recent group of 15 diagnosed just Saturday. 

RELATED: Gophers-Badgers game called off after positive COVID-19 tests

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority,” said Coyle. “The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus."

Coyle says the team will now set its sights on doing everything possible to play a scheduled road game at Nebraska Dec. 12. 

In addition to the daily antigen testing program established by the Big Ten, the Gophers have started a PCR testing program that confirms cases. The team will also do all meetings virtually for the remainder of the season.