Rinaldi Says He Was With Saban When Coach Told Of Diagnosis

TUSCALOOSA, AL. — ESPN National Reporter Tom Rinaldi says he was with Alabama head football coach Nick Saban on Wednesday when athletic department staff notified the Crimson Tide coach that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Rinaldi recounted the experience on Sportscenter, saying he was in a staff room adjacent to Saban’s office as he worked on different pieces for ESPN’s College GameDay, which is in Tuscaloosa for the Tide’s Tuesday matchup against the Georgia Bulldogs.

He went on to say Jeff Allen, associate athletics director for sports medicine, opened the door to Saban’s office and asked the coach to leave the room.

“A few moments later, Saban opened the door, he apologized and said he had to leave,” Rinaldi said. “He left the building almost immediately with [Allen] guiding him out.”

Rinaldi confirmed during the show that Saban had been tested again Thursday morning, with the results expected back on Friday.

Patch first reported of Saban testing positive on Wednesday, which comes just days before the Tide’s highly-anticipated primetime game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Additionally, any questions of Saban coaching the team remotely during Saturday’s game were put to rest on Thursday, as a recent ruling from the NCAA prohibits coaches in quarantine from having any kind of communications with their players and staff.

Per the ruling, voice communications are only allowed between the press box and the team area.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, a former head coach at Southern California and Washington, is expected to lead the Crimson Tide onto the field Saturday.

Kickoff for Georgia at Alabama is set for 7 p.m. local time Saturday, with the game broadcast on CBS.

This article originally appeared on the Tuscaloosa Patch