Alabama head football coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, just days before the No. 1 Crimson Tide were set to play No. 22 Auburn in the Iron Bowl Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama team physician Dr. Jimmy Robinson and head trainer Jeff Allen confirmed in a joint statement that the positive test came Wednesday morning. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive,” the statement said. “He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.” Saban said he had a runny nose but no major symptoms. He previously received a false positive ahead of the game with Georgia but didn’t have any symptoms that time. He was cleared to coach in the game after subsequent tests leading up to the game came back negative. This time, however, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, a former head coach at USC and Washington, will take over for the 69-year-old, six-time national champion coach. Sarkisian will oversee preparations within the football building and oversee the team on game day.
No. 7 Cincinnati-Temple canceled by virus
The American Athletic Conference said No. 7 Cinncinnati’s game at Temple on Saturday had been canceled because both teams are dealing with COVID-19 issues. League officials said the game could not be made up on Dec. 5, even though both teams have an open date, because it “would not allow for a sufficient number of players to be available for competition on that day.” The unbeaten and conference-leading Bearcats’ next game is scheduled for Dec. 12 at No. 24 Tulsa, which had its game scheduled for Saturday against Houston postponed because the Cougars have been hit by the virus . . . Vanderbilt women’s soccer player Sarah Fuller, a senior from Wylie, Texas, practiced with the Commodores football team (0-7). With the team dealing with health issues with their specialists, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said Fuller, who made three saves last weekend as Vanderbilt upset top-seeded Arkansas, 3-1, to capture the Southeastern Conference women’s soccer title, would be a good option to be the team’s kicker Saturday against Missouri.
Texas State player shot and killed in drug deal
Texas State defensive back Khambrail Winters was fatally shot in San Marcos, Texas, and two men have been arrested and charged in the killing, officials said Wednesday. Police officers responded to calls of shots fired at the Lodge Apartments in San Marcos on Tuesday evening after what witnesses described as a drug deal gone wrong, according to a statement from the San Marcos Police Department and city officials. The officers found Winters with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Texas State football coach Jake Spavital said he shared the news of Winters’ death with his teammates Wednesday morning and that they are deeply saddened. “We will stand together as a team and support one another during this difficult time,” Spavital said in a statement. “Our thoughts and condolences are with Khambrail’s family and loved ones.”
BC women rout UNH in opener
The Boston College women’s basketball team opened its season against the University of New Hampshire with an 80-44 victory in an empty Conte Forum. The Eagles were paced by junior Taylor Soule, who recorded her 11th career double double with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Junior center Clara Ford scored a career-high 12 points in her first collegiate start. BC held UNH to 16-for-60 (26.7 percent) shooting from the field and forced 23 turnovers. The Eagles outscored the Wildcats, 24-5, in the third quarter. For third-year BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee, playing a game during the coronavirus pandemic was a relief. “Even just the stress of thinking this could be cancelled, or not having the game, that was the biggest worry,” Bernabei-McNamee said in a postgame video conference. “Once the tip went up, we were a little all over the place, but then you kind of saw us settle in and I thought in our third quarter, we showed what we want BC basketball to look like.” Bernabei-McNamee credited her bench for filling the quiet gym with cheers to ramp up the intensity and create more of a game-like atmosphere. “It was really interesting,” Ford said about playing without fans. “Once you get into the game you don’t notice it, but when you’re on the bench you have to do a little more than usual.” . . . Victaria Saxton had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Zia Cooke scored 18 points as the No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball team overwhelmed Charleston, 119-38, in the season opener for its 27th straight victory.
No. 4 Virginia wins in a rout in Bubbleville opener
Trey Murphy III scored 21 points a day after learning he was cleared to play and fellow transfer Sam Hauser added 19 points as No. 4 Virginia opened the season with an 89-54 rout of Towson at Uncasvile, Conn. The game was the first in an 11-day event dubbed “Bubbleville,” which includes several tournaments and individual games being played inside the Mohegan Sun resort casino in Connecticut. Also at Mohegan Sun, Remy Martin (26) eclipsed 20 points for the 26th time in his Arizona State career and freshman Marcus Bagley made three key free throws in the final minute to lead No. 18 Arizona State to a 94-88 win over Rhode Island in the Empire Classic . . . Reigning Big Ten player of the year Luka Garza had 26 points and 10 rebounds and No. 5 Iowa beat North Carolina Central, 97-67, at Iowa City . . . Ayo Dosunmu scored a career-high 28 points, freshman Adam Miller also scored 28 and No. 8 Illinois beat North Carolina A&T, 122-60, at Champaign, Ill. . . . Brandon Boston Jr. had 15 points and seven rebounds, Devin Askew and Terrence Clarke each added 12 points and No. 10 Kentucky cruised past Morehead State, 81-45, at Lexington, Ky. . . . The West Virginia men’s basketball’s home opener Dec. 2 against Youngstown State was postponed after the Penguins paused all activities related to COVID-19. The game had been scheduled for Dec. 2. West Virginia said the schools hope to find a mutually agreeable date in December.
Belarus’s Olympic body facing IOC punishment
The IOC said it was weighing formal punishments for Olympic officials in Belarus after widespread reports of reprisals against athletes amid protests against the country’s disputed presidential election. The authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, claimed a sixth presidential term after an August election was seen by many as rigged in his favor. Lukashenko has also been president of the Belarus Olympic Committee for 23 years. After an executive board meeting, the IOC said it was acting amid “the growing number of worrying reports concerning athletes, officials and sports in Belarus.”. . . Citing not enough time to do the job he started in 2017, tennis great Boris Becker stepped down from a position overseeing youth development and the Davis Cup team at the German Tennis Federation. Becker faces several years in prison if convicted of charges in London over accusations he hid assets including two Wimbledon trophies, real estate and bank accounts during bankruptcy proceedings.