After today’s wild press conference with Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban went on Sirius Radio to respond to Fisher’s allegations.
Saban on @SXMCollege says he reached out to Jimbo Fisher and Deion Sanders and "never got a response. I feel bad about it."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) May 19, 2022
Saban reiterates that his philosophy about how to help players isn't changing
Saban: "Collectives are the issue."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) May 19, 2022
Saban: “I don’t think NIL is the issue. I think collectives are the issue.”— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) May 19, 2022
Says collectives should be part of the school and not allowed to induce players to pick their school.
So The Nicktator backed down, but the allegations being made by former associates of Jimbo Fisher are just heating up. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’m on Nick’s side here.
He was speaking to a group of boosters at his school. The same people he’ll need to create collectives and get NIL dollars to players to continue drawing the top recruiting classes going forward. Texas A&M had the best class, and their boosters did more to get kids in the door.
The legality of any NIL work being done right now varies widely from state-to-state, and there are (mostly feckless) NCAA rules to be at least cursorily acknowledged as well. It’s the wild west out in the recruiting streets, which means in the SEC those streets will be the wildest.
Saban probably should have used better language, but again this wasn’t an interview with a soft lens on ESPN. He was talking to donors and someone taped it. And the implication of what he was saying was correct, even if the actual language used wasn’t perfect.
Saying A&M “bought every player” only sounds bad if you’re a college football that’s so used to this being the third rail everyone knows is out there but no one touches publicly. But that thinking is so 2019, and just like every other industry in a capitalist society, employers and institutions are willing to pay for talent.
It was certainly clunky, but we’ll give Saban the benefit of the doubt here. Now Jimbo .. we’ll do him a favor and not link to the unverified allegations from players he’s recruited and coached that are flying presently. But people in glass houses might want to be careful.
Life, and hubris, comes at you fast in the SEC.