Last night, news broke that Nick Saban and Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne both tested positive for COVID and would have to quarantine.
Saban noted in the school’s release that he had been exhibiting no symptoms and had taken another test just to confirm the initial test.
Shortly after the news of the positive test broke, Saban’s daughter Kristen tweeted that Saban was coaching practice via a Zoom call. Seems like a unique, and safe way for a coach to stay involved from a distance, right?
No symptoms. He’s literally coaching practice from a Zoom call💪🏼 (I had permission to say this)
— Kristen Saban Setas (@KristenSabanS) October 14, 2020
That begs the question: Could Saban use the same virtual approach to stay involved in the down-to-down decisions on game day?
Alex Scarborough of ESPN did some digging and was directed to this 2020 NCAA Football Play Interpretations Bulletin scenario, Rule 1-4-11.
While coaching virtually (or from a lift overlooking the field like this HS coach did who had to quarantine) seems like a good idea that would cross every coach’s mind if they were in Saban’s shoes, the NCAA’s rule here shuts the door on that possibility.
Alabama’s game day decisions against Georgia this weekend will have to go through former USC and Washington head coach, and current Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. The Crimson Tide face #3 Georgia this weekend and #18 Tennessee next weekend, and Saban would be set to return as the team prepares for Mike Leach and Mississippi State on October 31.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Nick Saban wondered today whether he could have communication with coaches during a game, saying it was something they’d look into. Well, I looked into it and was referred to this which makes clear that’s not possible. pic.twitter.com/zEoR0rB62g
— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) October 15, 2020