Alabama AD Greg Byrne Prepared to Play Football Using CDC Guidelines

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

The SEC logo is shown outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel for the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne plans on the Crimson Tide playing football this fall. 

Charlie Potter of 247Sports shared Byrne's statements he made on a video call with reporters in which he said there has been some but "not a ton" of conversation inside the SEC about moving the season to the spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our goal is to play this fall right now," Byrne said. "We've adjusted since March, and we'll continue to evolve and adjust as is necessary."

He also stressed that Alabama will follow guidelines put in place from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"If you follow the CDC guidelines from a contract-tracing standpoint, I think you have an opportunity to move forward and try to play—whatever sport it is—in the fall. That's what we've been doing as a department, and that's what we're going to continue to do. If the fall sports season is called off at some point then, obviously, we'll follow those guidelines. But I think we've heard clearly from our student-athletes that the great majority of them want an opportunity to try to play."

The college football season appeared to be on the brink of not happening when the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they were postponing until at least the spring, but the SEC, ACC and Big 12 all appear set to play in the fall for now.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said he believes players are safer inside the confines of the football program than outside it.

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"I want to play, but I want to play for the players' sake, the value they can create for themselves," Saban said, per Chris Low of ESPN. "I know I'll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don't care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2 percent positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It's a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can't get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they're in a bar or just hanging out."

Byrne echoed that sentiment and talked about the "umbrella" Alabama provides its players.

He also said the Crimson Tide have not had a case of myocarditis and are actively monitoring their athletes for the heart condition.

That is notable because Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported the Big Ten was aware of at least 10 players who had myocarditis, which could be linked to the COVID-19 virus. It was a factor in the decision to not hold a football season in the fall with so much uncertainty remaining about the long-term effects of the virus.

As of now, the SEC still plans on playing come fall.

Alabama is scheduled to start its season Sept. 26.