The Alabama sports world was rocked when a second of the state’s head football coaches tested positive for the coronavirus. Jacksonville State University head football coach John Grass has tested positive for COVID-19
“I was notified that I received a positive during the most recent round of COVID testing,” Grass said in a statement. “Upon receiving notification of the positive result, I immediately began to follow our protocols for positive tests and went into self isolation at home.”
— Jacksonville State Athletics (@JSUGamecocks) October 16, 2020
On Wednesday, University of Alabama head football Coach Nick Saban and Athletics Director Greg Byrne also tested positive for the coronavirus, though Saban subsequently tested negative twice. Grass, like Saban, said that he would continue to be involved with the team remotely during his isolation.
Jacksonville has a 1-1 record. They play only four games this fall, the last being on October 23; but then are scheduled to play seven games between Feb 21 and April 11.
“I am confident in the protocols we have in place to handle positive results, and I will continue to follow our plan until I am cleared to return to our team in person,” Grass said. “I will remain involved remotely and continue to oversee our team’s preparations for Saturday’s game at North Alabama, and Assistant Head Coach Jimmy Ogle will oversee the team on site Saturday in Florence. Our staff and players have worked extremely hard to prepare for the fall season and I am confident that the Gamecocks are in good hands until I am cleared to return.”
Prior to the college football season some epidemiologists had recommended that the 2020 college football season be cancelled or postponed until a coronavirus vaccine were available.
The Gamecocks last fall game will be at Florida International on Oct. 23.
Grass is a former head Coach at Moody High School, among other schools.
The coronavirus global pandemic has impacted all of college football. The SWAC Conference, which includes Alabama A&M and Alabama State, have postponed all sports, including football to the spring. Alabama and Auburn have both had players test positive. The Troy University vs. South Alabama game was not played due to the high numbers of positive testing players at South Alabama.
Nearly 30 football games including the LSU vs. Florida and Vanderbilt vs. Missouri games this week have been postponed or canceled this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been flaring up this week. At least 133 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 just in the last week alone taking the state death toll from the global pandemic to 2886. At least 221,872 Americans have died since Feb. 28 from COVID-19. 2,652,217 Americans, including Grass and Saban, presently have active cases of the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. At least 844 Alabamians are now in the hospital with COVID, up from 790 on Oct. 8.