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Nick Saban: ‘Things I Believed in No Longer Exist’ in College Sports

Former Alabama coach supports revenue-sharing for athletes, but the overall contours of the game has changed in his eyes.

Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban took his seat on Capitol Hill and talked about the money flowing into college sports on Tuesday as part of an NIL roundtable discussion hosted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Saban recently retired as head coach at Alabama, after the Crimson Tide lost to Texas in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Part of the calculation for his decision, he said, was the state of money in sports, part of which ties into the money raised by collective for Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) partnerships to support college student-athletes.

When Saban was asked about the role NIL had in his decision to retire, he made it clear that part of college sports played a role.

"Well, all the things I believed in for all these years of coaching, 50 years of coaching, no longer exist in college athletics,” Saban said.

Money, he said, is driving the college landscape in sports like never before.

"It's whoever wants to pay, the most money raised, the most money to buy the most players is going to have the best opportunity to win,” Saban.

Saban went on to say that he supports sharing the revenue created by college sports with the student-athletes but doesn’t support a model in which those athletes become employees of the university.

Saban attended the roundtable along with his former boss, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips and student-athletes Haley and Hanna Cavinder. Haley will return to college basketball next season with TCU.

Saban recently retired from coaching after one of the most successful careers in college football history. During stops at Toledo (1990), Michigan State 1995-99), LSU (200-04) and Alabama (2007-23), Saban won 292 games and seven national championships.

His career reached its zenith with the Crimson Tide, where he won six of his career national titles in 2009, 2001, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020. He also won 11 SEC title, 15 SEC Western Division titles and was named national coach of the year by multiple outlets. He was last SEC coach of the year in 2020.