Alabama Crimson Tide Closing In On Return to Normal
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 and still finished the season as undefeated national champions. The Tide did not have spring practice, was unable to hold normal summer workouts and played a 10-game SEC schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The developments of the COVID-19 vaccines have provided an opportunity for the program to return to normalcy.
"I think we're pretty close to being there. I think we've got a pretty significant number of people that have been vaccinated. We're almost to the threshold to where we won't have to test," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban on Thursday. "We're giving every player the option to whether he wants to do it or not. We've had a pretty good response, we've had some really good educational meetings for the players so they can make a good, intelligent decision about what they want to do or not do but we're pretty much back to normal."
Programs that reach 85% vaccination rate can end surveillance testing for players, coaches and staff members. Programs can also forgo mask wearing inside facilities for both vaccinated or unvaccinated personnel once the 85% threshold is met.
The return of on-campus visits this past week provide another sign of the college football world returning to normalcy. The Crimson Tide hosted several recruits last week as the NCAA allowed the return of in-person recruiting last week.
Alabama was able to hold spring practice and its annual A-Day Game this year, the Tide will return to an eight-game SEC schedule and the players are close to being able to forgo their masks. The 2021 season is already providing football, its players and its fans an experience we are all much more familiar with.