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Nick Saban Say NIL Comments Were Due to Concern for ‘Football in General’

Nick Saban’s comments about Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M football program took over the internet on Thursday, and now the Alabama coach is clearing the air.

One of the most notable quotes from Saban on Wednesday night is when he said Texas A&M secured the No. 1 recruiting class due to name, image and likeness deals and “buying players,” a statement that Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher vehemently denied. Saban also called out Jackson State’s football program and Miami’s basketball program. On an appearance on ESPNU Radio on Thursday afternoon, the longtime coach apologized for “singling out” those three teams and said that he is more worried about the broad trends.

“My concern is college football in general,” Saban said, via AL.com. “I think a lot of us are concerned about that. A lot of people are concerned about what’s happening. People really want to understand what’s happening in college football. People want to understand why people are transferring schools and getting money to do it.”

Saban elaborated on his concerns regarding NIL in an interview with ESPN. The coach thinks the use of NIL deals has gotten “out of control.”

“It’s gotten completely out of control and not a sustainable model,” Saban said. “It’s to the point where you’ve got these attorneys/agents calling collectives and saying, ‘Pay my player a hundred thousand dollars a year,’ and then they want their piece of that. They all want a cut.”

On top of that, Saban noted that professional sports do not have an equivalent of NIL in terms of how college sports are handling it.

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“This is not professional sports,” Saban said. “I mean, we have free agency and no salary cap. That’s basically what we have, right? There’s no professional league that has that circumstance because none of them are stupid enough to have it and that’s what we have.”

Rules allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness were passed on July 1, 2021, so last college football season was the first time teams and coaching staffs navigated the new college football environment. So far, Saban hasn’t held back from criticizing the new laws. Just last month, the 70-year-old coach offered up a similar opinion, stating that he thinks NIL allows programs to “buy players.”

“That creates a situation where you can basically buy players,” Saban said. “You can do it in recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know. And you can also get players to get in the transfer portal to see if they can get more someplace else than they can get at your place.”

However, back in January, Saban admitted that the NIL rules are a “positive” experience for the college players because they have a chance to earn money. But, the coach did think that college sports might need some sort of national legislation to “sort of control” how the money can be a determining factor for where players go to school.

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