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Bryan Harsin sets timeline for returning to facility

Harsin defended himself as "not anti-vaccine" nearly a week after testing positive for COVID-19.

Bryan Harsin is scheduled to return to Auburn's facility on Monday, he told reporters in a Zoom conference on Wednesday.

Harsin tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday as part of Auburn's regular testing regimen. Tigers defensive coordinator Derek Mason has since returned to work from his own breakthrough case. 

The Auburn head coach has declined to say whether or not he is vaccinated, leading some to criticize him as "anti-vaccine." 

"I am not anti-vaccine and any narrative along those lines is misinformed. I fully support the choice of any individual to vaccinate. Anyone who's been in the facility knows that," he said. 

Harsin said he has had multiple experts speak to his team on the facts of the vaccine, including Auburn athletics chief medical officer Dr. Michael Goodlett, head athletic trainer Robbie Stewart and AD Allen Greene. 

"I care deeply that our players have the information that they need to make informed decisions that affect them and I support them," he said. "I care deeply that we play in every single game and work hard to go win every single one of those games."

Still, Auburn is below the 85 percent threshold among its roster and, though he declined to give specifics, indicated the virus has made its way inside the building beyond the infections we know about it.

Harsin touted Auburn's mitigation efforts, saying his team is tested twice a week. As proof those mitigation efforts are working, he said no player or coach was forced into a quarantine because of his positive test. 

"We can't issue mandates to our student-athletes. It's Alabama law, I understand that. Other states and other universities can, we cannot," he said.

Auburn will open its first season of the Harsin regime next Saturday versus Akron. The Tigers will host Alabama State on Sept. 11 before a 4-game stretch that includes trips to Penn State and LSU and a home date with Georgia.