Alabama's Nick Saban cleared to coach following negative COVID-19 tests

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, right, talks with Daniel Wright as he walks off the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in
(Image credit: AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban on Saturday was "cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately" after testing negative for COVID-19 three days in a row, the team said.

The university had announced on Wednesday that Saban tested positive for COVID-19, but on Saturday, a statement from the team's physician said that Saban had since received three negative COVID-19 test results 24 hours apart, allowing him to return to activity in time for the day's game against the University of Georgia, CNN and The Associated Press report.

"Upon evaluation today, Coach Saban remains completely asymptomatic," the statement said. "To address the potential for a false positive, the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol allows for follow-up testing to clear the individual's return to activity. That protocol requires three negative PCR tests 24 hours apart."

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In addition to these tests, "two additional PCR tests were administered at the same time on Thursday and Friday and were tested by a separate lab," and those results were negative as well, the physician said, per The Associated Press. The statement added that Saban is "completely asymptomatic" and that "the initial test from Wednesday is considered a false positive under the SEC protocols." ESPN reports that Saban "was informed he had been cleared to return a little before 12:30 p.m. ET, and he immediately left his home with a state trooper to go straight to the team hotel and was able to join meetings prior to 1 p.m. ET."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.