Ole Miss will be without coach Lane Kiffin for its season-opening game against Louisville on Monday.
The second-year Rebels coach on Saturday announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms on Thursday, meaning he would not coach against the Cardinals or travel with the team to Atlanta.
“I am disappointed to confirm that I have developed a breakthrough case of COVID and will not accompany our team to Atlanta,” Kiffin said in a statement. “I am grateful to be vaccinated and experiencing only mild symptoms. So much so, I debated over being tested; but I’m relieved that I did. I’m proud of our program’s commitment to vaccination and as a result there are currently no other cases to report or team members expected to miss the game.
“We will continue to monitor our team closely and take responsible measures if any symptoms arise.”
What effect Kiffin’s absence has on the team, if any, remains to be seen. He has not yet named an interim head coach to lead the team against Louisville.
“We’ll meet up all the way until gameday on every scenario possible and we’ll have throughout the coaching staff, everybody will have their roles to pick up where we need. We’ll communicate with the officials that way. Our guys have them trained really well in situations, what to do. And so they’re going to do it without me.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Kiffin’s COVID-19 diagnosis, how he tested positive and how long he will be out.
What happened to Lane Kiffin?
Despite being vaccinated, Kiffin began experiencing symptoms on Thursday before a rapid antigen test reportedly confirmed he had the coronavirus. While the vaccine reduces the likelihood a person can contract the coronavirus, it does not make them immune to the disease. It does, however, increase the chances of milder symptoms while reducing the likelihood of transmission.
Is Lane Kiffin vaccinated?
Yes, Kiffin is vaccinated. Indeed, Ole Miss has a 100-percent vaccination rate. Kiffin credited that as the reason he is the only one to miss Monday’s game in an interview with Rece Davis on “College GameDay.”
“It’s very disappointing to get it just because we’re 100 percent vaccinated and I don’t go anywhere but the office and home,” Kiffin said. “But the great thing is, some people will say, ‘Oh, you’re 100 percent vaccinated,’ well, had we not been we’d have a lot of close contacts shut down and not playing in this game including our quarterback. Obviously I’m near him all day long. It was tough telling the players this morning. Especially, I told Matt (Corral) before anyone else.”
How long is Lane Kiffin out with COVID-19?
Kiffin did not specify how long he would be out, only that he wouldn’t coach or travel with Ole Miss for their season-opening game on Monday. The fact Kiffin is vaccinated could affect the time he will be out.
The SEC in December 2020 revised its COVID-19 protocols to mandate a minimum 10-day isolation period for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, though it’s uncertain if those mandates remain the same in 2021 now that the vaccine is widely available. If the policy remains in place, the SEC considers Day 0 to start at the onset of symptoms, which for Kiffin occurred on Thursday. That would make him unavailable for the team’s Week 2 game against vs. Austin Peay.
For isolation to end, “At least 24 hours must have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptom improvement (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, etc.) has occurred, in accordance with current CDC guidance.”
Lane Kiffin COVID-19 news
— Sept. 2: Kiffin experiences symptoms of COVID-19, confirms he has disease after rapid antigen test.
— Sept. 4: Kiffin announces he will be unavailable for Ole Miss’ season-opening game vs. Louisville.
— Sept. 6: Ole Miss will face Louisville in Atlanta without Kiffin.