TUSCALOOSA, AL. — Multiple sources have now confirmed that Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has received the results of a third negative COVID-19 test that will allow him to return this afternoon ahead of kickoff for the Crimson Tide's game against Georgia.
While many Tide fans and goes alike have been following different reports in the last couple of days since Saban tested positive, perhaps none have been watched as closely as the coach's daughter, Kristen Saban Setas, who has tweeted a heart emoji for each negative test result received by her father. Shortly before noon Saturday, she tweeted three hearts in what is widely interpreted to mean Saban will be allowed to return.
— Kristen Saban Setas (@KristenSabanS) October 17, 2020
Saban told ESPN's Rece Davis on College GameDay Saturday morning that he remained asymptomatic, with no fever and good oxygen levels. After testing negative for the third consecutive day, it is now believed the initial positive test on Wednesday was a false positive.
Davis, a University of Alabama alum, also asked the coach about going through the protocol after testing positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday and the emotional impact of awaiting the results of the final test that could determine the course of the most highly-anticipated game of the college football season so far.
Click here to subscribe to our daily email newsletters and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox and mobile devices for free. You can also support local journalism by donating as little as $5 a month to become a supporting member or by downloading our free Patch mobile app.
The results of the third test are expected to be returned by Saturday afternoon.
"I don’t have any experience to evaluate how things are really going, but from an emotional standpoint, I feel a little bit detached, even though I’ve stay involved with the team in everything they had to do, every practice, every meeting, same thing with the staff," Saban said. "So even though I'm not there, the presence has been the same. Now, it would be totally different if I can’t coach the game tonight because of the rules that we have relative to games."
“Disruptions are kind of the norm in this season. So, if this is a disruption, let’s turn it upside down and make it a positive. Everybody stay focused and take ownership of what they have to do.” Nick Saban joins the show to discuss his COVID-19 testing: pic.twitter.com/rCN2Q2HkC5
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 17, 2020
Patch reported earlier this week that NCAA rules prohibit quarantined coaches from calling plays remotely, with voice communications only allowed between the press box and the team area.
Saban also pointed out Saturday morning that he had tested negative Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, before it was announced that he and athletic director Greg Byrne had both tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Patch reported that the first negative result came from a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that was repeated and confirmed Thursday by the SEC-appointed lab. UA also said the initial positive came from an outside lab the university has used to supplement the SEC-mandated testing.
"We tested our players every day for the last several months," Saban told College GameDay. "The fact that we had 240 tests in the last two days that were all negative."
Kickoff for Georgia vs. Alabama is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.