5:36 PM ET
Chris LowESPN Senior Writer
- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of the University of Tennessee
Alabama coach Nick Saban scolded Crimson Tide mascot Big Al for not wearing a mask and not maintaining proper social distancing as part of a public service announcement released Thursday by Alabama football.
It’s the latest PSA that Saban has participated in since the coronavirus pandemic shut down college sports more than two months ago.
“All of us want to make sure we play football this fall, and to make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash your hands often, follow social distancing guidelines and please wear a mask any time you’re around other people,” said Saban, sporting a mask with a crimson “Roll Tide” on one side and the scripted Alabama “A” on the other side. This latest PSA includes Jeff Allen, Alabama’s associate athletic director for sports medicine and head athletic trainer for football. Saban and Allen, both wearing masks, nearly run into Big Al just outside Saban’s office. Big Al is not wearing a mask, and Saban lets him have it.
“Hey! Big Al, you need to be standing at least 6 feet away from me, and haven’t I told you that you need to be wearing a mask when you’re in this building?” barks Saban, motioning his hands in vintage fashion.
Allen pulls out a tape measure to demonstrate how far 6 feet is, and the PSA ends with Big Al wearing an oversized mask.
SEC presidents will vote Friday whether to allow athletes back on campus June 1 for voluntary workouts or to push back that date. Even if athletes are allowed to return to campus as early as June 1, presidents could vote to have a phasing-in period to quarantine and/or assess them before they actually begin workouts.