Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher says he’s done with Nick Saban. Less than 24 hours after Saban called out Fisher and Texas A&M for buying players through NIL, the Aggies head coach responded in an impromptu press conference Thursday.
"It's a shame that we have to do this," Fisher said. "It's really despicable. It's despicable that somebody can say something about somebody, more importantly, 17-year-old kids. You're taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families, that they broke state laws."
Saban’s comments came at an event in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday night in preparation for the 2022 World Games. The Crimson Tide head coach criticized Texas A&M’s recruiting practices, stating that the Aggies No. 1 rated recruiting class was heavily fueled by NIL deals. Texas A&M led the nation signing 13 SI99 recruits in this year's class. Alabama finished second with 12 SI99 signees, followed by Georgia (11), Ohio State (8) and Texas (7).
“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said Wednesday. “You read about it, you know who they are. 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 and likeness.
“We didn’t buy one player. Aight? But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future, because more and more people are doing it. It’s tough.”
Thursday, Fisher called those remarks despicable, stating he has never bought players and that Texas A&M has not broken any rules in its recruiting of players.
Fisher, who coached under Saban at LSU from 2000 to 2004, said Saban has tried to reach him since Wednesday's comments but that he isn’t taking any calls from the Alabama coach. When asked about their relationship, he responded, “We’re done.”
"It's despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn't get his way or things don't go his way," Fisher said of Saban. "The narcissistic in him doesn't allow those things to happen. It's ridiculous when he's not on top."
Fisher went on to insinuate that Saban has broken college football rules in the past, challenging the media to look into the Alabama coach's career and ask his former assistants.
“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher said. “Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out about a guy that a lot of things you don’t want to know. We’ve built him up to be the czar of football? Go dig into his past or anybody that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it and it’s despicable."
As for his own team's dealings, Fisher said he has nothing to hide.
“There’s no bylaws or anything we ever promised done, anything that goes against the laws of the state of Texas," he said. "And it’s insulting to say a 17-year-old and his family broke laws."
Fisher went on to reaffirm his honesty while questioning Saban's, even going as far as to question the Alabama head coach's upbringing.
“I have no sponsorships and those things, and that’s the truth," Fisher said. I'm gonna tell you one thing. You can even call me anything you want to call me. You ain’t calling me a cheat. I don't cheat. I don't lie. I learned that when I was a kid. If you did, your old man slapped your side of the head. Maybe somebody should have slapped him.”
Saban and Fisher paths could cross during the SEC Spring Meetings which will be held in Destin, Fla., from May 31 to June 3. The two head coaches could also run across each other during SEC Media Days which will take place in Atlanta from July 18-21.
"I don’t mind confrontation," Fisher said. "Lived with it my whole life, kind of like it myself.”
Alabama will host Texas A&M on Oct. 8 for its sixth game of the season. The Aggies beat the Crimson Tide 41-38 in College Station, Texas last season, making Fisher the first former Saban assistant to get the better of the head coach during his time at Alabama.
“It’s gonna be fun, won’t it.” Fisher said.