Last week, Alabama head coach Nick Saban revealed that his players have been given Apple watches so their workouts can be monitored during this time when everyone is in quarantine. However, this innovative practice might not pass NCAA regulations.
According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, the SEC is investigating whether Alabama players will be able to continue using the watches. Last week, the NCAA distributed a COVID-19 guide to illustrate what schools can and can not do when providing voluntary workouts for athletes during the coronavirus shutdown.
“The guidelines specified that coaches and other staff members “may not supervise or conduct such workouts” and that players “may not report voluntary athletically related activities to institutional coaches or staff members,” Schlabach wrote.
On Thursday, Saban disclosed his players’ use of Apple watches and thanked new strength coaches David Ballou and Matt Rhea for being “very instrumental in setting up this whole program of what we’re doing with the players in terms of Apple watches for their workouts and apps on their phones for weight training programs.”
Alabama players are wearing Apple watches during their workouts so the strength and conditioning coaches are able to track their workouts.
The players have apps on their phones with workout programs, per Saban.
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) April 2, 2020
On Friday, an Alabama spokesman told ESPN that only the director of sports medicine is viewing the feedback and info from the players’ watches.
Also on that day, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters on a conference call that he didn’t know if Apple watches were permitted, while taking a jab at the Crimson Tide.
“Our guys are putting the work in, I don’t need an Apple watch to track them,” Swinney said.
We’d expect a resolution on this matter sooner rather than later.