The SEC is currently dealing with a number of COVID-19 outbreaks that have impacted scheduling for this weekend, most notably with Vanderbilt and Florida having to postpone their games this Saturday with Missouri and LSU respectively due to a number of positive tests.
Ole Miss is likewise dealing with players testing positive, as their game with Arkansas is still on for now but more positive tests later in the week could change that. The biggest game of the week in the conference is a showdown between the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams in the country in Alabama and Georgia in Tuscaloosa. On Wednesday, that game got a major shakeup in the form of positive tests for Alabama head coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne, which will keep Saban off of the sidelines and thrust offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian into head coaching duties, with both Saban and Byrne releasing statements.
BREAKING: Nick Saban and Alabama AD Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19.
Saban: “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.”
Sark takes over. pic.twitter.com/N7DFowxz9b
— Chris Vannini 😷 (@ChrisVannini) October 14, 2020
Per the statement, there are no other positive tests at this time for the team, but obviously testing later in the week will be important to monitor as Saban has removed himself from on-site team activities and is at home. The primary concern is the health of Saban and Byrne, as the Alabama coach is 68 years old. Hopefully he remains asymptomatic and is able to make a speedy recovery, but Alabama is learning what so many other schools have, which is that it’s impossible to fully insulate a team from the possibility of positive tests while traveling for games and being on campus.
The SEC isn’t alone in having games postponed, but right now they have been hit the hardest and now one of the all-time luminaries of the sport is impacted directly.