Alabama’s Saban, Byrne Test Positive for COVID-19

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Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19. 

ESPN reports that the two tested positive on Wednesday. Saban has reportedly been monitoring team practices via Zoom while self-isolating at home. 

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said in a statement following the result. “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.”

Saban, who is 68, is reportedly the oldest active college football coach to test positive for the virus, but appeared upbeat when he addressed reporters via Zoom. 

“I feel fine, so I’m not really concerned that much about my health, but you never know,” Saban said. “Look, I basically feel like when we’re in our own personal bubble here, everyone is in a much safer place. I think as soon as you travel, you get exposed to a lot more things and a lot more people.”

Alabama said it plans to test all football players beginning on Thursday. The Tide are scheduled to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. What role Saban will be able to play during the game is unclear, but the 2020 NCAA Football Play Interpretations stipulate “allows only one 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.”

Byrne, meanwhile, said that he is also self-isolating, and encouraged others to be vigilant about adhering to best-practices as far as limiting the spread of the virus. “We’ve been diligent about mask wearing and social distancing from the start and want to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of the virus for yourself and those around you.”

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