Auburn coach Bruce Pearl wants to eliminate COVID-19 protocols, treat it like the flu

Erik Hall
Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn men's basketball head coach Bruce Pearl made a bold suggestion during the pregame radio show prior to facing Alabama on Tuesday night. 

Pearl wants to eliminate COVID-19 protocols. 

Auburn radio broadcaster Andy Burcham asked Pearl if his team is at full strength for the Alabama game. 

"Yeah, we're at full strength," Pearl said. "And that's great. But it's going to be a season-long of that, I think. Especially the first month as schools start opening up again now and with the omicron (variant) being so very contagious, and with the protocols that they've got in place right now. It's like I'd kind of wish they'd really, truly go back to the flu — if you don't feel well don't play and come back when you feel better. Because it's just otherwise, unfortunately, there are going to be guys that feel well enough — Al Flanigan felt good for three days before he finally played on Saturday. But that's the protocol and that's the rules and that's what we'll live by." 

In this photo provided by Bahamas Visual Services, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl looks on during an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse at Paradise Island, Bahamas, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. (Tim Aylen/Bahamas Visual Services via AP)

Allen Flanigan missed the Auburn game Jan. 4 at South Carolina before playing 19 minutes against Florida on Saturday.

Auburn, ranked No. 4 in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll, enters Tuesday's matchup 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. Most recently, Auburn defeated Florida 85-73 on Saturday. 

No. 25-ranked Alabama comes into the game 11-4 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. On Saturday, Missouri beat Alabama 92-86. 

Here's more Alabama, Auburn men's basketball news:

Entering Tuesday, Alabama leads the all-time series 98-66 vs. Auburn. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.