Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders responded to Nick Saban’s comments on Thursday after the Crimson Tide’s football coach criticized Sanders for “paying a player a million dollars” to attend the program.
In addition to criticizing Sanders, Saban attacked Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher saying the Aggies program “bought every player on their team” and that his program “did not buy one player.”
While Saban has since apologized for his comments made on Wednesday and has attempted to reach out to Sanders, the Tigers’ coach said Saban’s comments are a matter that needs to be handled publicly.
“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban,” Sanders told ESPN’s Andscape. “I’m sure he’s tried to call. We need to talk publicly—not privately. What you said was public. That doesn’t require a conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”
Saban did not specifically target one player at Jackson State who was making a million dollars. However, he is likely referring to Travis Hunter, who was the top recruit in the country and originally slated to play at Florida State before flipping his commitment to JSU in December.
When Sanders began his coaching duties on Dec. 1, 2020, the 54-year-old signed a contract for an annual salary of $300,000 that runs through Dec. 15, 2024. With that, Sanders reiterated Hunter is not making more than him as the program’s coach.
“I don’t make a million,” Sanders said. “Travis [Hunter] ain’t built like that. Travis ain’t chasing a dollar. Travis is chasing greatness. Travis and his family don’t get down like that. … They never came to us in search of the bag… This kid wants to be great.”
Per Andscape, Hunter reportedly has two current NIL deals and two pending worth less than $250,000. While Sanders does not hate nor does he not have respect for Saban, the Tigers’ coach feels the situation should be addressed in the proper manner.
“You can’t do that publicly and call privately,” Sanders said. “He’s the magna cum laude of college football and that’s what it’s going to be because he’s earned that. But he took a left when he should’ve stayed right. I’m sure he’ll get back on course. I ain’t tripping.”
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