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Big Ten Football May Be Back. The Atmosphere Isn’t.

  • September 19, 2020

There are a few things you can count on on the Madison campus during a fall weekend. The farmers’ market on the square of the state Capitol; music blasting from apartments, fraternity houses and bars in the hours before a football game, and the mass migration of tens of thousands of fans wearing red T-shirts toward Camp Randall Stadium.

Instead, when I turned on Langdon Street, the home of many fraternities and sorority houses, I heard birds chirping. There was no beer pong. There were no keg stands. There were no footballs or Frisbees or corn hole bean bags or groups of students or scents of brats and beer. Only later would I learn that nine houses had been placed on quarantine.

For a few weeks, it seemed as if there could be a fall sports season for many athletes, said Claire Shea, a graduate student and Wisconsin soccer player. But that hope is all but gone.

“Being a student athlete, and having worked for 19 years, and to have it end through a text message and not knowing what the next step is, it’s really hard to swallow,” Shea said.

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