Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 and likely will miss the Crimson Tide’s game against Georgia this weekend.
The Alabama athletic department confirmed the news in an email it sent throughout the SEC on Wednesday. Saban will be re-tested immediately to confirm the results. Otherwise, he’ll continue to work from home, which he said he began doing Wednesday afternoon. SEC protocol will require him to remain quarantined for 10 to 14 days.
“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19," Saban said in a statement. "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. I informed our team of my positive test at 2 p.m. today on a Zoom call and let them know offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations at the complex while I work from home.”
Later, Saban made an appearance on the SEC Network. He said he’s asymptomatic and basically feels fine.
No. 2-ranked Alabama is scheduled to play host to the No. 3 Bulldogs on Saturday in Tuscaloosa (8 p.m., CBS). As of now, the school is saying that there are no more positive tests on the team and that game is still on.
Georgia sophomore receiver Kearis Jackson said that coach Kirby Smart did not address the news with the team after Wednesday’s practice. He said the Bulldogs currently do not have any players out because of coronavirus infections or exposures.
“It definitely is a wake-up call, whether the news is true or not,” Jackson said. “Like I said, we have to do the right thing by making sure we’re wearing our masks and not going places where people are not wearing their masks. We just have to continue doing a great job as a team and as a staff.”
The Bulldogs are determined not to let Wednesday’s developments distract them from what they have to do to win Saturday’s game.
“We’re just focusing on Georgia football and what we’re doing,” sophomore running back Kenny McIntosh said.
Two SEC games already have been postponed this week because of coronavirus outbreaks: LSU at Florida and Vanderbilt at Missouri. Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin told reporters on a conference that the Gators have 21 players who tested positive Wednesday morning and only 50 players available.
Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne also tested positive Wednesday.
“We’ve been diligent about mask wearing and social distancing from the start and want to continue to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of this virus for yourself and those around you," Byrne said.
Alabama’s team physician, Dr. Jimmy Robinson, said the team does not have any other positive results that it knows of.
“At this point in time, the positive tests are limited to those two individuals," Robinson said. "All individuals who are considered high-risk contacts have been notified and will follow quarantine guidelines. We will follow the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol for testing asymptomatic positives.”