Alabama coach Nick Saban released a video Tuesday sharing the same message to fans he said he has delivered to his players: to stay safe and follow social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Together, we look forward to all that's to come, like the opportunity to play college football this fall," Saban said in the video, which was released on the team's official Twitter page. "But the best and safest way to ensure that happens is to listen to the experts, follow their guidelines and take care of each other."
Saban hasn't spoken publicly since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States. He said the coaching staff has returned to work, but is doing so from home.
The University of Alabama moved its classes online on March 12 and all organized athletic activities were suspended on March 17, the same day that spring football was set to begin in Tuscaloosa.
The Southeastern Conference canceled all athletic activities until at least April 15 in order to help stop the spread of the virus. All conference spring football games and pro days were canceled.
"We're not having organized team activities of any kind, but we are continuing to communicate and support our players while doing everything in our power to ensure their health, safety and wellness," Saban said in the video. "As we have shared with our team, we share the same message to all of you. Please understand the following guidelines of social distancing. It's important.
"We ask that everyone please wash your hands often. Stay at home if at all possible. And when you have to be out in public, make sure you keep six feet between you and the nearest person. We are in this together, and as one team, we will get through these difficult times."
During a teleconference with reporters last week, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said he and Saban have talked several times and discussed the viability of returning to practice.
"We've talked about some different scenarios," Byrne said. "Obviously, you just can't go out and play games without any practice and development time beforehand, so we've talked about what different scenarios look like so I can have his thoughts, which you all know [are] always very well-thought out on different possibilities, different scenarios. It's been very helpful. But we're still -- because of where we are in the process right now -- we haven't gotten any more specific in just looking at potential scenarios."