Arguably the biggest name in college football, if not in all of collegiate athletics, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, who has guided teams to national titles on six occasions, confirmed on Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne also tested positive.
In a statement shared by Mark Schlabach of ESPN, Saban said:
"I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19. 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."
No. 2 Alabama (3-0) is preparing to host the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) on Saturday evening in what is, to date, the most anticipated game of the college football campaign. Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will lead in-person practice sessions as Saban works from home.
"Today, I received notice that my COVID-19 test from this morning came back positive. Upon hearing the news, I immediately entered self-isolation and will remain at home and follow all guidelines. We've been diligent about mask wearing and social distancing from the start and want to continue to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of this virus for yourself and those around you."
Saban joins Kansas' Les Miles, Arizona's Kevin Sumlin, Florida State's Mike Norvell, Arkansas State's Blake Anderson and Toldeo's Jason Candle on the growing list of FBS coaches who have tested positive for the virus from the early days of the pandemic through and beyond the start of the football season.
Saban turns 69 years old on Oct. 31 and, thus, is considered high-risk for COVID-19 due to his age. Barring the discovery of a "false positive" test result, Saban will miss at least this Saturday's contest and, potentially, the game versus Tennessee on Oct. 24.
It's assumed Sarkisian will also oversee in-game operations for Alabama on Saturday if the Crimson Tide are cleared to play. Alabama will continue testing players on Thursday and Friday.