Saban: “90% of Our Players Are Vaccinated.”
Two days after SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey revealed that six of the 14 SEC teams have vaccination rates of at least 80%, Alabama coach Nick Saban stated that the Crimson Tide has reached a vaccination of around 90%.
“We’ve had a large majority of our players who have gotten the vaccine. We’ve given every player on our team the choice to do that," the seven-time national title-winning coach said.
This confirms rumors that started on Twitter almost immediately after Commissioner Sankey spoke that the Crimson Tide was one of the most vaccinated teams.
For what it’s worth, Saban stated that he believes that whether you take the vaccine is a personal choice. That is echoed in the state of Alabama’s vaccination rate, which states that only 33.7% of Alabamians have been fully vaccinated.
High vaccination rates should come as a sigh of relief for Alabama fans. When Sankey spoke on Monday, he explained that there will be little to no “wiggle room” for cancellations and postponements that are related to positive COVID-19 cases. This would mean that a COVID-19 outbreak could be subject to a forfeit. Luckily for Alabama, since they meet the 80% vaccination threshold, they probably will not be subject to forfeitures.
Saban reinforced this point when he spoke about the team aspect of receiving a vaccination. He used North Carolina State's baseball team as an example. The Wolfpack recently got disqualified from the College World Series after several players testing positive. This will not be a problem for the Crimson Tide football team. There should be no COVID-19 related disqualifications.
In addition, teams that have not met the 80% vaccination threshold will be subject to masks in facilities, frequent tests and heightened safety protocols. Alabama will be in the clear and should be more relaxed about COVID-19 protocol.
A high rate of vaccination for Alabama should not surprise fans. Zero players on the Crimson Tide tested positive during the 2020 season. Several coaches tested positive, including Saban himself, resulting in him missing the Iron Bowl.
The Crimson Tide will kick their national title-defending season on Saturday, Sept. 4, when they take on the Miami Hurricanes. The game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on ABC. It will also be available on TIDE 100.9.