Saban tests positive for COVID-19 for second time

After a false positive test in October, Alabama’s head football coach has tested positive again and is experiencing mild symptoms.

Coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time this season. 

According to an emailed statement from Alabama Athletics, Saban has mild symptoms and is following the “appropriate guidelines.” Saban tested positive for the first time the week before the Georgia game, but that test was later determined to be a false positive since he showed no symptoms and tested negative three consecutive times.

It is unlikely Saban will be coaching on Saturday, Nov. 28 versus the Auburn Tigers. In an SEC teleconference shortly after the announcement, Saban discussed what had transpired during the morning. 

“I was informed this morning that I had tested positive,” Saban said. “It was a PCR test, which was different than the false positive I had before. I have no idea [where I contracted COVID-19]. I’m around nobody. I go home and I go to the office.”

Saban also said he doesn’t think that anyone else on the team or coaching staff could have gotten it from him. For the vast majority of this season, Saban said he has not been surrounded by anyone outside of game days. 

“Based on how we manage things internally in the building, I can’t see any issues with the coaches or players,” Saban said. “But that’s up to the [the people in charge of contact tracing].”

So far, Saban said he is the only one on the entire team who tested positive in their daily testing rounds this week. He went on to say that he had a runny nose and no other significant symptoms, such as a  fever, at the time. 

During Saban’s isolation, Steve Sarkisian will take over head coaching responsibilities, and Saban expects that Sarkisian will be the interim head coach during the Iron Bowl. He expressed full confidence in Sarkisian’s coaching during the week before the Georgia game. 

“He can call the offense. He’s done a really good job of that,” Saban said. “We’ve got a very capable staff. Those guys make good game-day decisions. I just kind of monitor what they do and make sure we’re staying on the rails. I think we can get that done even if I’m not available.”

Alabama opened the week before Georgia as a seven-point favorite. After Saban initially tested positive, the spread dropped to 3.5 points on most betting sites. So far, there haven’t been any significant drops in the spreads. Alabama is a 24-point favorite versus Auburn this week.