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Texas A&M Football

Saban backtracks A&M accusations, calls for uniform NIL guardrails

May 31, 2022
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DESTIN, Fla. — Apparently, Nick Saban sees nothing wrong with breaking state laws.

The Alabama football coach on Tuesday morning said that…without really meaning to say that.

To explain:

Two weeks ago, Saban alleged Texas A&M bought its entire No. 1 ranked 2022 recruiting class — a violation of Texas state name, image and likeness laws.

But on the first day of the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, Saban was backpedaling in a ballroom at the SanDestin Beach Hotel.

“I didn’t really say that anybody did anything wrong,” Saban said when asked for evidence that A&M paid for recruits.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Nick Saban has recruited eight top-ranked classes in the last 10 recruiting cycles.

“You said they bought their class,” a reporter interrupted.

It was May 18 when speaking to a group of Alabama boosters in Birmingham that Saban said:

"I mean, we were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image, likeness.”

Texas laws forbid a university from making NIL deals with recruits. Therefore, “buying” all the players would absolutely be doing something wrong.

By now, it’s common knowledge Fisher, who once was an assistant coach to Saban, called a press conference the next morning to vehemently deny Saban’s accusations.

Fisher maintained his recruiting class — regarded as the best ever — was compiled through hard work and building relationships.

Fisher has recruited extremely well throughout his career as a head coach at A&M and Florida State. His classes typically are ranked among the top ten.

Then, Fisher suggested Saban built his legacy by manipulating the recruiting rules.

Florida coach Billy Napier and Georgia coach Kirby Smart — both former Saban assistants — were asked if there was any validity to Fisher’s suggestions.

Both dodged the question.

“My phone started blowing up right when Jimbo hit the press conference,” Smart said. “I haven’t thought about it a day since. Because in the world we operate in, you worry about what’s in front of your right now, which is the 15 recruits I’m trying to get on the phone, the conversations I’m trying to have. I’m not really worried about a feud between two guys that used to sit in the same staff meeting and have similar conversations.”

(Kirby) Smart, who has recruited at a high level at Georgia, might feel differently if he was accused of “buying” his players.

Smart, who has recruited at a high level at Georgia, might feel differently if he was accused of “buying” his players.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right?

Reminded he said A&M “bought” its entire recruiting class, Saban, appearing frustrated, expressed some regret.

“I did not say anybody did anything wrong. That’s all I’m going to say about that,” he said. “I should have never mentioned any individual institutions. I’ve said that before.”

Then he went into a diatribe about competitive equity, NIL transparency and the health of the game.

“Some kind of uniform name, image and likeness standard that supports some kind of equitable national competition, I think, is really, really important in college athletics and college football,” Saban said. “We’ve always had that, whether it’s equal scholarships, equal (Alston) money. Whatever it might be. So, that’s kind of point one.

“Point two is we need some kind of transparency in name, image and likeness deals to verify that players are doing what they need to do to have the opportunity to make money with name, image and likeness.”

Saban said he strongly advocates for players to make money through NIL. Indeed, he bragged last year that quarterback Bryce Young had $1 million in NIL deals before starting a game.

He acknowledged other Alabama players have profited from NIL, too.

Marvin Gentry/USA Today Sports
In 2021, Jimbo FIsher became the first former assistant coach to beat Nick Saban.

It would seem Saban supports NIL deals for players. His players. After all, Saban was asking Alabama boosters to contribute more for NIL opportunities when he made the accusations against Texas A&M.

Saban has won six national championships at Alabama. Eight of his last 10 recruiting classes have been ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Yet, he called to put “some guardrails” on NIL to ensure a level playing field. Really, he said that.

“I think we need to make sure we have a uniform way to have equitable competition that’s transparent. We have to protect the student-athlete,” he said.

Interestingly, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher often has spoken about the need for regulating NIL. So, he and Saban agree on that.

Where they do not agree, apparently, is that breaking Texas state law equates to “doing something wrong.”

Fisher has adamantly maintained that no NIL deals were promised to 2022 recruits. Just last week, it was reported that only two A&M 2022 signees —both of whom are enrolled — have NIL deals.

The obvious question, then, is Jimbo Fisher lying? That question was put directly to Saban.

“I have no problem with Jimbo,” Saban said. “I have no problem with Jimbo at all.”

Maybe not. But Fisher has a problem with Saban.

Discussion from...

Saban backtracks A&M accusations, calls for uniform NIL guardrails

11,490 Views | 17 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by DimebagsGhost
BQAG02
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AG
So is he suggesting a version of a "salary cap" so poorer schools won't get left in the dust?
Shoefly!
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AG
That's what he's suggesting because the gumps won't be able to keep up.
Bottlehead90
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AG
He said we bought the entire team!

Also he wants rules in place that other schools will follow, but not him.
sharpdressedman
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So, JF is totally vindicated, and Saban was forced to admit his blatant allegation was false. I am pleased that the reporter was candid and pressed Saban for the admission of his lie. Now, let's see how ESPN and Pawwwwwllll run interference for Saban.
Aggie1188
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A salary cap would be legit if they could stop under-the-table deals and endorsement-NIL deals. But if keeping the NIL endorsements, idk how a salary cap solves anything….unless his goal is to make sure Alabama can pay more than everyone else like each of the last 15 years.
moldaggie
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Shoefly! said:

That's what he's suggesting because the gumps won't be able to keep up.


Yep, if nothing changes the power will go West, with us and tu. Karma - LOL
jigsaw87
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greg.w.h
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AG
Aggie1188 said:

A salary cap would be legit if they could stop under-the-table deals and endorsement-NIL deals. But if keeping the NIL endorsements, idk how a salary cap solves anything….unless his goal is to make sure Alabama can pay more than everyone else like each of the last 15 years.
They can't cap educational benefits. That decision was 9-0.
a.froman
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AG
What never gets discussed and even Jimbo stated he wasn't aware of how it works( pretty naive) is the collective. This is separate then just your old standard NIL deals.
greg.w.h
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AG
a.froman said:

What never gets discussed and even Jimbo stated he wasn't aware of how it works( pretty naive) is the collective. This is separate then just your old standard NIL deals.
It is the thing that deserves attention. But at the Olympic level collectives are fine so it might not be apparent at the collegiate level why it's an issue IF it isn't used to attract athletes to specific schools. In effect it's a group taking risks (if for profit) to act as marketing agents to get deals signed. Same as any other kind of marketing agent including IMG for Texas and Learfield for Texas A&M…
He is Ass My Dude
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The problem has and always will be policing 128, or however many, FBS athletic departments.

It can't be done and Saban knows it. He's ready to get back to under the table cars, bags of cash, and all the things Bama does so we'll.

What they are not good at is having more money than A&M, UT, OSU, USC....

SUCK IT NICK!

Houstonag
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AG
When Saban arrived at Alabama it did not take him long before he had the top recruiting classes in the nation. Now just figure that out. It is well known that there is an understanding in the old guard of the SEC, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi, LSU, etc to not rat on each other. That was not true in the old SWC and Big 12. If TAMU appeared to do anything the NCAA would pounce on the Ags with sip committee members providing penalties. The Sips paid basketball players, but it was ok as long as the money was paid back.
Aggie Joe 93
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AG
My exact thought. He can't have the Bama machine cheat the system if there is no universal system.
Aston 91
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AG
So Saban wants "Some kind of uniform name, image and likeness standard that supports some kind of equitable national competition".

Wonder if he feels the same way about coaches salaries? How about a standard pay rate for all coaches?
Divining Rod
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Saban calling for NIL limitations is like a Grizzly bear asking for a ban on salmon fishing.
DimebagsGhost
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AG
Saban likes to whine and moan when things dont go his way -- remember when ole piss beat them two years in a row with the hurry up offense (and their paid players) and what did ole nick do?? Led the charge to get offense hurry up regulated so his defense can get in and out easily. Took care of that so he could keep winning.
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