Alabama Football coach, Nick Saban drew some high praise from Stanford coach, David Shaw on Tuesday. Speaking at the Pac 12 media days, Shaw not only complimented Saban but the Alabama Football program as well.
As reported by Ross Dellenger, Shaw was asked to comment on Bryce Young’s “near seven-figure NIL deals.” Before commenting on Young’s deals, Shaw talked about Nick Saban.
First of all, Nick Saban is smarter than any 10 of us in this room combined.
So, however many were in the interview room (likely dozens), take the 10 smartest (which might include Shaw) and Nick Saban has more smarts than the smartest 10. Parse that comment in multiple directions and it still means Shaw was, if not complimenting Saban, was at least acknowledging how smart Nick is.
Most Alabama Football fans will readily agree with Shaw. Shaw’s elaboration, however, led to negative responses from Crimson Tide fans.
Bryce Young and his family could easily be offended by that statement. Many Alabama Football fans loved the “Alabama Value” portion. Surely there is truth in that statement. The ‘Alabama’ brand is going to generate NIL dollars at a level not reachable by many other college football brands.
What came next in Shaw’s comments drew the ire of some Alabama Crimson Tide fans. Shaw continued that Nick Saban in drawing attention to Bryce Young’s NIL deals was implementing a new and powerful recruiting tool. A recruiting tool that Shaw sees as a byproduct of a now “legal” system of compensation that may not prove to be fair to some players and may not prove to be good for the game of college football.
Everything David Shaw said on the subject is available here.
Beyond immediate knee-jerk responses, some of what Shaw said is consistent with what Nick Saban recently said. As reported by Alex Scarborough, Saban said,
Anything that I say now, because there’s no precedent for it, you don’t really know how it’s going to affect things.
Everything that we’ve done in college athletics in the past has always been equal. Everybody’s had equal scholarship, equal opportunity. Now that’s probably not going to be the case. Some positions, some players will have more opportunities than others.
How that’s going to impact your team, our team, the players on the team, I really can’t answer because we don’t have any precedent for it.
Alabama Crimson Tide fans can choose to label David Shaw’s comments as jealousy and acrimony. Shaw knows Nick Saban will learn how to face any change – and find a way to maximize it. Saban’s words are more important. He is not sure where the NIL era will lead and that means neither can anyone else.
Alabama football fans complaining about Shaw may not know or may have forgotten one fact. Close to a decade ago, when Nick Saban was winning National Championships with power football and tough defense – David Shaw said he wanted Stanford to be the “Alabama’ of the west.