Nick Saban Suggests Lawsuits May 'Break College Football'

The NCAA is facing critical legal challenges that could force a complete reorganization of the business around college football -- and result in players getting paid.
Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the sideline during a college football game.
Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the sideline during a college football game. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The next few days could go a long way in determining what the business of college football looks like in the future. Next week should find a deadline in some landmark court cases, including House vs. NCAA, the verdict of which insiders say could result in college football introducing a revenue-sharing plan with players for the first time in history.

Given the expectation that the NCAA would prefer to settle the three major lawsuits against itself, the terms of such a settlement would likely involve a promise to share money with athletes. Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban predicts that would forever change the sport.

"The No. 1 thing we need to do in college football, the first thing you've got to do is address all the lawsuits because the lawsuits may break the NCAA and they may break college football," Saban said at the Jimmy Rain Charity Golf Banquet in Birmingham.

"Aight, so that should be the first order of business," he added. "The second thing is to try to create a system that continues to allow all people who have had the opportunity to participate in college athletics. That's male and female, Title IX."

Saban has given his support to the idea of sharing money with college football players as an answer to the confusion created by the new NIL system, including in Washington, D.C., where he was invited by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to speak at a roundtable on the subject.

Estimates on what the NCAA would have to pay out vary, but should it be on the losing end of these cases, most insiders guess it would be an amount in the billions.

But that would be a first step towards what appears to be a building consensus towards a complete reorganization of the sport, which could find college football players being considered employees for the first time ever.


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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.