When Alabama Football coach, Nick Saban speaks about the game of college football, only the foolish refuse to pay attention. Tuesday night Nick Saban spoke about what he believes is the misuse of NIL deals.
The ability for college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness was never supposed to be about buying recruits. The reality is because the NCAA mishandled the issue for so long, recruits can now choose schools based on the best NIL opportunities. As in immediate, in addition to future financial rewards.
What has quickly evolved is close to what blatant past cheaters, like LSU’s Will Wade, have been rightly discredited for doing. An argument can be made that buying recruits is no longer cheating. In the absence of control to prevent it, apparently ‘nothing’ can be a rule violation.
On Tuesday, at the Senior Bowl Summit in Mobile, Nick Saban said,
"When we start using name, image and likeness for a kid to come to our school, that’s where I draw the line. Because that’s not why we did this (NIL)."
Saban has been in favor of college athletes enhancing their value through established means, including NIL deals. What he is strongly opposed to is cheating.
Months ago in a timid and worthless statement, the NCAA stated it was opposed to “improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school.” Unsurprisingly many programs don’t care, because they have nothing to fear from the NCAA.
What Alabama Football does not do
Nick Saban is very clear about what he and the Alabama program don’t do.
"People are making deals with high school players to go to their school.I hear these crazy people on TV who say now you’re doing it above board. We never did it. We never did it. We never cheated to get a player. We never paid players to come to our school."
Ole Miss coach, Lane Kiffin does not have a reputation as a strict, rules adherent. But Kiffin and his former boss share similar opinions about using NIL deals to recruit players. This week Kiffin talked about the new college football terrain, using NFL salary caps as a comparison.
"We now have a sport with completely different salary caps and some of these schools are five or 10 times more than everyone else than what they can pay the players.I know no one uses those phrases. It is what it is. I joked the other day I didn’t know if Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax and how much they paid for their signing class."
Kiffin is not really joking and Nick Saban certainly is not. They see the game of college football changing in a manner they disapprove. They are not wrong.
Where does this mess lead? Some Alabama football fans fear it will lead to a disgusted Nick Saban deciding to retire.