Alabama's Nick Saban digs deeper into the out-of-control NIL: '[Texas] A&M have bought all the players from their team'

Alabama’s Nick Saban digs deeper into the out-of-control NIL: ‘[Texas] A&M have bought all the players from their team’

Texas A&M’s top-ranked recruiting class of 2022 has long been the butt of whispers about how, exactly, coach Jimbo Fisher signed more five-star prospects in one class than he had in all. his Aggies tenure before this offseason. That’s the life of college football’s elite recruiting programs. On Wednesday night, however, Alabama coach Nick Saban said the quiet part out loud — and it was far from the only thing he needed to get off his chest.

Speaking during a 50-day countdown to the World Games, Saban spoke about how the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) impacted the game. He drew no punch in the process. Specifically, Saban went straight to Texas A&M as an example of what’s wrong with NIL, flatly accusing the Aggies of buying their rookies through NIL deals and start an off-season quarrel for the ages.

“It’s going to be tough for people spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said as part of a 7-minute answer to a question about NIL that was recorded and posted by AL.com. “You’ve read about them. You know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. [Texas] A&M was the first.

“A&M bought every player on their team – made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn’t buy a single player. But I don’t know if we can maintain that in the future because more and more people are doing it.”

Saban called NIL “a great concept for players,” noting that Alabama football players “have created $3 million in opportunities by doing it the right way” over the past year. “And I have no problem with that, and nobody in our team has had a problem with that because the guys who got the money won it,” he added. “There were only 25 guys in our team who had the opportunity to make money.”

This isn’t the first time barbs have been thrown at Texas A&M over its elite class, though previous accusations have mostly come anonymously from college football fans — not from the mouth of the first sports coach. Fisher, a former Saban aide, fired back on Thursday that NIL played a role in his program’s recruiting success.

“It’s despicable that we have to sit here at this ball level and say these things to defend the people of this organization, the children, the 17 year olds and their families,” Fisher said. “It’s amazing. Some people think they’re God. Go find out how ‘God’ has done his business. You might find out a lot of things you don’t want to know.”

Saban’s comments Wednesday night weren’t just aimed at Texas A&M (Jackson State got lost too). In fact, during his 7-minute response, he provided a clear perspective on NIL, including its significant benefits for players and its potentially disastrous unintended consequences for college sports as a whole.

Here’s what else the Crimson Tide coach had to say on the matter.

NCAA enforcement is in a nearly impossible position

The NCAA Board of Directors released new NIL guidelines this month with the intention of cracking down on third-party callback collectives disguising fee-for-service agreements as NIL. Although the guidelines are intended to address individual cases in the future, the NCAA said it “may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer.” Saban explained why these guidelines will be difficult to enforce.

“People blame the NCAA, but in defense of the NCAA, we’re where we are because of the litigation that the NCAA gets like [for] the transfer portal. If the NCAA doesn’t get some litigation protection – if we need to get some antitrust [exemption] or whatever from the federal government’s perspective – it won’t change because they can’t enforce their rules. …

“Jackson State paid $1 million last year for a guy who was a really good Division I player to come to their school. It was in the paper and they bragged about it. Done about it Those guys from Miami that’s gonna pay $400,000 for basketball over there; it’s in the paper. The guy tells you how he does it. But the NCAA can’t enforce their rules ’cause that don’t “It’s not against the law, and that’s a problem. It’s a problem. Unless we have something that protects them from litigation, I don’t know what we’re going to do about it.”

NIL without app will endanger college sports

Saban also echoed his stern warning in April about NIL’s sustainability in college football when he asked if “this is what we want college football to be.” He’s not the only one expressing that concern, but with NIL deals already prevalent in college athletics, adapting to this world seems like the only option — as difficult as that may be.

“Our job is not to buy you off to come to school here. I don’t know how you run a changing room – and I don’t know if it’s a sustainable model. I know we’re going to lose recruits because that someone else will be willing to pay them more. …

“What I’m afraid is that at some point they’re just going to say, ‘We’re going to have to pay the players. If we start paying players, we’re going to have to eliminate sports, and that’s bad for university sports.

“We probably have 450 fellows [in total] in Alabama. … Non-paying sports [athletes] who for years and years and years have been able to create a better life for themselves because they have been able to get scholarships and participate in varsity sports. That’s what college athletics is supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be something where people come to make money and you decide where you go to school based on how much money you’re going to make.”

Unregulated collectives are a major problem

Saban explained that collectives, which emerged as an intermediary for players to receive NIL benefits from boosters and elders, are perhaps the most important element of NIL that needs to be regulated in order to create rules of the game. fair.

“The problem and the problem with the name and the image and the likeness is that the coaches are trying to create an advantage for themselves. They came out and said, ‘OK, how can we use this to our advantage? They have created what is called a “collective”…an external marketing agency that is unrelated to the university and is funded by university alumni…. This marketing agency l then routes to the players. The coach actually knows how much money there is in the collective, so he knows what he can promise each player. It’s not what the name, image and likeness was meant to be. That’s what it’s become, and that’s the problem in college athletics right now. …

“Now in recruiting we have players in our state who grew up wanting to come to Alabama, they won’t commit to us unless we say we’re going to give them what somebody else going to give them. My theory on that, everything we’ve done in college athletics has always been equal. [Saban refers to scholarships, cost of attendance, etc.] … I said to our players, ‘We’re going to have a chemistry, but everyone’s going to get the same amount of opportunities from that chemistry.'”

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