Sports & COVID-19: College Football

On Wednesday morning, it was announced that Alabama football head coach, Nick Saban, tested positive for COVID-19. Alabama’s athletic director, Greg Byrne, also tested positive. Saban had this to say about his test results:

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19. I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID, and I have taken another PCR test to confirm my diagnosis.”

Saban has stated that he will be overseeing his team’s practices at home via Zoom. The Crimson Tide, currently No. 2 in the nation, will take on an SEC rival in the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs this weekend.

Considering this, it’s obviously a huge week for Saban and the boys in ‘Bama, so practice must be perfect. Saban explained how technology has made this transition seamless:

“I had the manager have a phone,” he said. “If I wanted a play repeated, I said, ‘Repeat that play. So-and-so messed up.’ I didn’t leave the country or anything. I’m just right down the street. And we have this technology, so it’s really unique.”

The entire Alabama football organization will be tested on Thursday, and a decision about Saturday’s heavyweight matchup will be made within the day. However, if the game is played, Saban will not be allowed to coach due to an NCAA ruling. “Rule 1-4-11-b is very specific and allows only voice communication between the press box and the team area, therefore … a coach could not call into the press box or sideline for anything related to coaching purposes.”

It will be interesting to see how this affects this weekend and the rest of the college football season. Is this just a minor setback, or is it the beginning of the end?

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