Alabama head coach Nick Saban returned a positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday but there’s still a chance that he could be coaching on the Crimson Tide sideline on Saturday night against Georgia.
As the news broke on Wednesday, it was easily assumed that Saban wouldn’t be allowed to coach on Saturday and would be required to quarantine, but that may not be the case. SEC guidelines state that if he returns three consecutive negative PCR tests and remains asymptomatic, they can be released from isolation and return to athletic activities.
ESPN college football insider Heather Dinch reported that Saban has not experienced any symptoms thus far and suggested that he could be ready to coach against the Bulldogs.
“It’s important to note that Nick Saban is asymptomatic. He’s continuing to be tested daily. if he gets three negative tests, you could see him on the sideline against Georgia, which as of now, remains on,” Dinich said on College Football Live Thursday according to Newsweek.
Saban appeared on his weekly radio show on Thursday from home and stated that he was doing great and had no symptoms.
College Gameday co-host Desmond Howard predicts that Saban will be on the sideline for the Georgia game on Saturday night.
I believe Nick Saban will be on the field coaching tomorrow. Enjoy your Friday.
— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) October 16, 2020
If Saban doesn’t receive those three consecutive positive tests without symptoms and has to stay quarantined at home, he won’t be allowed any contact with his team. Per an NCAA rule, Saban would be prohibited from communicating with his team or any of his coaches beginning 90 minutes prior to kickoff until the end of the game.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will be the No. 1 coach on the sideline if Saban isn’t able to be there.
Say what you will about Saban coaching just four days after testing positive, but he’s simply following the rules and protocols in place. If he’s asymptomatic and has three consecutive negative tests it certainly puts his initial positive test result in question and again, based on the protocols, he’d have every right to coach from the sideline.