In the Nick of Time! Bama Coach Nick Saban Cleared To Coach Tonight After Negative COVID Tests

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2020, file photo, Alabama coach Nick Saban leads his team to the field before an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19, four days before the Southeastern Conference's biggest regular-season showdown. The second-ranked Crimson Tide is set to face No. 3 Georgia on Saturday, and may be without their iconic 68-year-old coach. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson, File)

The biggest college football game this season, No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia on Saturday night, will have Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban involved, after all.

The coach tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week and it was widely believed there was no chance he would be on the sideline at Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium.

But on Saturday morning, ESPN reported that Saban had successive negative COVID-19 tests, and with another negative result Saturday afternoon, the coach has been cleared to attend the game. The test was flown to an SEC-approved lab in Mobile, AL, for a faster turnaround time. 

According to SEC protocols, three negative tests taken 24 hours apart indicate that the initial positive test was a false-positive, thereby indicating that he was safe to attend the game.

The 69-year-old Saban was given the go-ahead early Saturday afternoon. ESPN reported he left his home with a state trooper escort, heading to meet up with the team. 

“We are continuing to follow the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol for testing asymptomatic positives,” Crimson Tide trainer Allen said in statement on Friday. “A PCR test was repeated Thursday by the SEC-appointed lab and was negative.”

According to the statement, the initial positive test came from an outside lab used to supplement the SEC’s mandated testing conducted by the school.

An already big game just added another level of intrigue and excitement. Hopefully will live up to the hype.

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