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Nick Saban Calls Out Texas A&M, NIL Deals

Alabama head coach Nick Saban blasted Texas A&M and continues to hammer the current NIL model

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is one of many voices - including those from Irish Breakdown - that have been warning from the beginning of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) that it would simply turn into a system where players get bought to attend school instead of it being something that was meant to benefit current players.

Saban has been sounding the alarm about NIL from the beginning, and he threw down the gauntlet last night when he took direct aim at his former assistant coach, Jimbo Fisher, who is the current head coach at Texas A&M.

"We were second in recruiting last year, A&M was first," Saban said. "A&M bought every player on their team, made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn't buy one player, 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."

Saban is referring to Texas A&M landing the No. 1 ranked class that earned the highest grade ever for a class according to 247Sports. Fisher got indignant and self-righteous when he was called out on it and said it was nothing more than "hard work" from this staff.


Of course, Saban complaining about the NIL deals that high school players are landing, and his warnings about the transfer portal seem a bit odd for a coach who has certainly taken advantage of those realities. In this offseason alone the Crimson Tide have landed Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton, Louisville wide receiver Tyler Harrell, Vanderbilt offensive lineman Tyler Steen and LSU cornerback Eli Ricks.

The year prior he landed former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams and Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o.

There are two ways to look at the somewhat contradictory nature of his comments relative to his actions. On the one hand he's railing against buying players and the one-time exception for the transfer portal, and on the other hand he's taking full advantage of those systems, especially the transfer portal and the lack of any kind of NCAA enforcement when it comes to tampering.

And don't get me started on his comments on parity.

But no matter what you think about what Saban is doing compared to what he is saying, the reality is what he is saying is spot on. This isn't what NIL deals should be about, and it will only get worse until the NCAA decides to grow enough of a backbone and hire good enough lawyers to stop it.

He isn't at all wrong about Texas A&M, and he isn't at all wrong about the fact the NIL system has gone completely away from what the spirit of the change was supposed to be.

I don't think anyone outside of College Station actually believes Texas A&M comes anywhere close to landing the class they did if they couldn't use NIL enticements to make it happen. The Aggies had consistently been a Top 10 recruiting operation since Fisher arrived, but the jump from what they've done in recent seasons to landing the highest ranked class ever is a tremendous leap.

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The NCAA gave lip service to the problem with its "guidelines" earlier in the month, but until they actually show that they will seek out and punish the rule breakers they are nothing more than a PR move meant to take the heat off their lack of action.

Saban is taking advantage of the system, but at least he's one of the few powerful voices who is actually consistently speaking out against it.

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