The situation required an Alabama employee to hold up a phone as the Crimson Tide players were training on Wednesday.
“I had a phone for the manager,” said Saban on Wednesday when Zoom called reporters to announce his diagnosis. “When I wanted a piece to be repeated, I would say, ‘Repeat this piece. So and so mixed up. ‘I haven’t left the country or anything. I’ll be right down the street. And we have this technology, so it’s unique. “
Despite the technology available to him during practice, Saban will not be able to use it during Saturday’s game should he should, due to guidelines from College Football Officiating, a group established by the NCAA and commissioners of major sports conferences help standardize rules to continue performing positive tests.
Rule 1-4-11-b allows “only allows voice communication between the press box and the team area, so in (a) the coach could not call the press box or the sidelines for anything related to coaching purposes”, according to one interpretation of the Rules for this season from Steve Shaw, the National Football Officials Coordinator (and, of note, an Alabama graduate).
On Thursday, Saban seemed at least a little annoyed by this interpretation.
“The log goes, if you are in quarantine, you cannot have remote access to the sidelines and you cannot go to the game even if you are in an isolated area. If you’re the head coach and you’ve never given it much thought – and I’m not critical here – there should be a better way to do it, ”he said during his weekly radio show (Saban appeared from his home office).
“I’m not sure what this is. But there should be a better way to do that. You should have some kind of communication with the sidelines, just like I communicate with someone on the field during training. I can ‘I talk not directly with a player but I can say “tell 22 he should redirect the guy” or whatever.
“You can’t have that. That doesn’t seem entirely true. I think you could probably do without an assistant if you had to. Maybe a little trickier if it was a coordinator calling the pieces, and maybe you don’t have anyone in your staff who does it effectively or has any experience with it. “
Another rule provides that virtual communication on game day is prohibited “90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off, when the reigning team takes responsibility for the game, and the time between the periods until the end of the game when the referee the end result explains “. according to Shaw’s interpretation of the rules.
Saban said the rule interpretation could mean that assistants for making decisions in the game are unfairly criticized.
“I am being criticized. I understand the game. If you place a call and it works and works, it’s a good call. If you make a call and it doesn’t work, it’s a bad call. It’s that simple. I understand, “said Saban.” But if an assistant on your staff has to make one of these types of calls and it doesn’t work, I would hate to have someone criticized for something that probably shouldn’t even be their responsibility to start with. “
Saban didn’t rule out training in Saturday’s game on Wednesday, which will have a significant impact on the college football playoffs, but he admitted, “I’m not sure exactly how this will play out when the game comes up.”
According to the SEC’s coronavirus protocol, asymptomatic individuals like Saban are required to isolate and can have a second test within 24 hours of the first positive test. If this test is negative, two additional tests can be done 24 hours apart. If the person remains symptom-free and has three consecutive negative tests, “he or she can be released from isolation and medically cleared just to return to exercise.”
This timeline indicates that Saban will receive negative test results on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and must be cleared immediately in order to train in-game in Georgia. Saban did not disclose the results of later tests during his radio broadcast, but reiterated that Sarkisian would lead the Crimson Tide on Saturday if he couldn’t be there.