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Dear Dr. Saban, 

(I assume Dr. to be the proper honorific, as is wise when addressing anyone associated with higher education; my philosophy, when it comes to addressing someone as Dr. or Mr., is simple:  if in doubt, round up!)

Dear Dr. Saban, 

Please allow me to introduce myself as someone hopelessly unknowledgeable about all things sports related.  As you may have gathered, assuming you read the subtitle to the present piece commissioned by my employer, I term myself a "sports ignoramus;" to this, I am only half-joking.  I have made it my personal goal for reasons partly ethical, partly aesthetic, partly philosophic to see how many words I can publish proportionate to how little I know to what they refer.  As of now, I have managed around 60,000, since November.  Consider yourself honored to have inspired 600 or so more.  

I would like to state from the outset that you are one of a very select company whose name was familiar to me when I commenced my series, these "Screwed Tape Letters," as I have lovingly coined them.  That is to say, prior to my employment with KillerFrogs, I had heard of exactly three head coaches in college football:  Gary Patterson, Art Briles, and you--Patterson because he was at the helm of my alma mater's team, Briles for less noble reasons, and you, because the Father did not hesitate to say, when I asked him who was the greatest head coach in the history of college sports:  "Nick Saban."  And because of your public feud last week, I can add a fourth:  Jimbo Fisher.  

Congratulations, Doc.  If you had gotten any farther under his skin you could have spited him intravenously.  But I would like to add my voice in solidarity with yours:  I despise Name, Image, and Likeness.  I despise the very concept.  Indeed, to discuss in public the very notion that athletes should be paid so much as a tenth-of-a-percent of such luminaries as yourself poses the question of universalizability.  What would happen if military privates demanded the same respect and dignity, never mind safety, of our august generals?  Or if the average American citizen, the plebes, demanded the same of its political leaders?  Never mind scribes their publishers!  Mere anarchy would be loosed upon the world!  

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Of course, a genius such as yours needs no recommendation.  Your fears of "parity" are granted, particularly as I, a Horned Frogs fan, support a school much more inclined to take from its students (and, in more fortunate cases, such as mine, their parents) four handsome salaries allotted over as many years than to give one percent back.  When it comes to Name, Image, Likeness, we TCU aficionados are not likely to benefit. 

Which brings me to the question of parity:  if it is such a concern for you, as it is with the rest of us, that college sports be conducted with an appropriate eye for "fairness," why not apply the strategy that has thus far proved your glory--i.e.., winning?  It would seem that a coach of your stature, who can claim to his credit seven NCAA Championships, four in the last ten years alone, may enjoy some wiggle room.  After all, it is not as if student-athletes as of now have had exactly zero determination in their athletic fates; presumably, they may have had at least some input in determining which schools they choose to attend, which, naturally, often happen to be those that win the most--namely, yours.  I recognize that the possibility of other schools being able to buy the best may outweigh the appeal of simply being the best, but surely there are ways around that, such as your continuing to win with enough regularity your own program may prove competitive at also purchasing the services of its student athletes.  

There is little doubt in my mind that one source of Mr. Fisher's concern is your finding some way to succeed despite his financial fortunes, just as your concern may be that his fortunes challenge your entirely unimpeachable methods of success.  To this, I say you might consider yourselves evenly opposed.  And if all else fails, you can always transfer to the school putting up the highest bids--after all, who would ever turn down the great Nick Saban?  

And then, if that doesn't work, you can always retire.  

In the meantime, while far more important conflicts rage in Ukraine, to your public spat with Jimbo Fisher, particularly in the climate of current NCAA sports, the immortal words of Terry Southern seem particularly apt, as transmuted through the voice of Peter Sellers:  "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here!  This is the war room!"


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