As Big Ten season approaches, SEC deals with numerous COVID-19 issues

As Big Ten season approaches, SEC deals with numerous COVID-19 issues originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

COVID-19 struck the SEC in a major way this week, as Alabama head coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne both tested positive according to the school. Also, this weekend’s scheduled game in Gainesville between LSU and Florida has been postponed due to a COVID-19 spike within the Gators program this week, the conference announced on Wednesday.

According to Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, 18 scholarship players and 3 walk-ons have tested positive, causing the school to suspend all football activities “out of an abundance of caution.”

This comes less than a week after head coach Dan Mullen campaigned for 100% capacity at this weekend’s game in response to the state of Florida lifting COVID-19 restrictions limiting the size of public gatherings. Mullen did backtrack before Wednesday’s announcement, saying the program would follow the advice of local health officials.

Saban and Byrne are both at home self-isolating following their positive tests, as No. 2 Alabama continues preparations for their game against No. 3 Georgia this weekend. The 68-year-old head coach informed the team of his diagnosis over a Zoom call on Wednesday, and plans to “work from home” until further notice.

These developing stories, along with the postponement of this weekend’s scheduled Vanderbilt-Missouri game, comes as the Big Ten prepares to open its football season later this month, reversing course after initially postponing all fall sports.

Maryland is scheduled to kick off their abbreviated 2020 campaign on Oct. 24 at Northwestern before returning to College Park for a Friday night home opener against Minnesota on Oct. 30.

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