Nick Saban won’t be allowed to coach No. 2 Alabama from home against third-ranked Georgia per NCAA guidelines, and also can’t be in the stadium while testing positive for COVID-19.

The coach remains asymptomatic after testing positive for COVID, and Alabama said Saban was evaluated Thursday by team doctor Jimmy Robinson “and is doing fine.”

“He is continuing to self-isolate and will remain in the SEC testing protocol while being evaluated daily,” the school said.

When asked if a coach who remained positive could coach from an isolated room at the stadium, SEC spokesman Herb Vincent cited CDC guidelines saying “people who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.”

Then there are the NCAA restrictions.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn referred to the rules interpretation written by national coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw when asked about Saban coaching. In an earlier response to the prospect of any coach being in quarantine because of COVID-19, Shaw’s interpretation was that coaches aren’t allowed to use technology to call in plays or communicate with the team in the locker room.


“Rule 1-4-11-b is very specific and allows only voice communications between the press box and the team area, therefore in (a) the coach could not call into the press box or the sideline for anything related to coaching purposes,” Shaw wrote.

He also interpreted Rule 1-4-11-a as prohibiting the use of computers or other technology “for coaching purposes,” including any virtual communication with the team during a game.

“This prohibition would begin at 90 minutes before the scheduled kickoff when the officiating crew assumes jurisdiction of the game and would include the time between periods until the end of the game when the Referee declares the score final,” the interpretation read.

Saban, 68, and Athletic Director Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID on Wednesday. Robinson said at the time that they were the only positive tests in the program.

Alabama hasn’t disclosed positive tests among players since the pandemic started, but Saban said Wednesday that they “haven’t had any indication” of an outbreak among players. The Tide is coming off a game against Mississippi, which this week had an undisclosed number of players test positive.

POSTPONEMENT: No. 8 Cincinnati’s game at Tulsa on Saturday has been postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among Cincinnati players.


The American Athletic Conference announced that the game is being rescheduled for Dec. 5.

The number of players who have tested positive or have been quarantined through contact tracing has not been revealed by Cincinnati. The school has not been making those numbers public throughout its testing of athletes.

Cincinnati is next scheduled to play Oct. 24 at No. 17 SMU.

Overall, it is the fifth major college game that has been postponed since Sunday. The Southeastern Conference has called off two games, including LSU at No. 10 Florida – the first postponements in the league since it began Sept. 26.

The number of games involving FBS teams to be postponed and canceled since Aug. 26 is now 30.

Tulsa has had three games postponed, including its opener against Oklahoma State, which it was able to make up. The Golden Hurricane have played only twice this season.


WEST VIRGINIA-KANSAS: Four games into the college season, West Virginia will finally welcome thousands of people to a home football game. Kansas plans to have Coach Les Miles there, too.

Miles announced last week that he tested positive for COVID-19 and has quarantined at his home. In a video Sunday, Miles said his health was good and “I can’t wait to get back to our players and our coaches as soon as it is safe to do so.”

On Wednesday, Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said Miles was expected to be at Saturday’s game “as long as things stay on track.”

Kansas defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said Miles is popular among his players, “so it has kind of motivated them to make sure that while he’s away, that they stay the course and continue to prepare for West Virginia.”

The Mountaineers (2-1, 1-1 Big 12) are allowing up to 15,000 fans, or 25% of the stadium capacity, when they welcome the Jayhawks (0-3, 0-2).

In two previous home games, only the families of players and coaches were allowed to attend.

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