University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban will take the field Saturday after his school said he tested negative for coronavirus three times.
Saban was cleared to coach Saturday night’s pivotal game against the University of Georgia after testing negative for the third straight day, according to the university.
“In accordance with the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol and with the approval of The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force, Coach Saban is medically cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately,” a statement from Dr. Jimmy Robinson, the team’s physician, said.
“Upon evaluation today, Coach Saban remains completely asymptomatic. 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.”
Saban also tested negative for another two tests on Thursday and Friday from a different lab.
Saban and Greg Byrne, the school’s director of athletics, both tested positive for the virus, the university said on Wednesday. Saban, 68, said he had no symptoms related to Covid and immediately isolated at home after receiving the positive test.
The news came three days before the Crimson Tide’s critical conference showdown with visiting Georgia, slated for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The coach received three polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests through a lab appointed by the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
“Due to the fact that Coach Saban has remained completely symptom-free and had five negative PCR tests, split between two separate labs, the initial test from Wednesday is considered a false positive under the SEC protocols,” Robinson said.
Alabama is unbeaten on the season at 3-0, and ranked second in the Associated Press national poll. Georgia, also 3-0, is ranked third.
CNN’s Jason Kurtz and Jill Martin contributed to this report.