Alabama Football: Is Nick Saban seeking to do the impossible?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football fans are close to believing NIck Saban can accomplish anything. He has already done the next to impossible by winning seven National Championships. Plenty of Crimson Tide fans are sure Saban would excel in the private sector as a CEO or in the public sector as a high-level public official.

In long-ago Alabama Crimson Tide history, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was encouraged to run for Governor. There was some polling evidence that Bryant was more popular than George Wallace. Today, there is little doubt Nick Saban is the most popular resident of the state of Alabama.

So maybe the word ‘impossible’ does not apply to Saban. It appears, a test of just that, is on the horizon. In Saban’s recent on-air chat with Paul Finebaum, Saban explained his concern over the misuse of NIL.

The Alabama head coach is one of many who have lobbied for an end of NIL deals being used to recruit athletes. There is another potential NIL problem that worries Saban. That the problem receives little current attention does not mean major difficulties will not evolve.

Simply stated it is a locker room issue that could create jealousy and dissension among a team’s roster. The expected cause would be a perceived unfairness in the wide range of dollars players would receive from their individual NIL deals.

Several Alabama football players have lucrative NIL deals. On3 tracks the deals and calculates their total dollar value for the top 100 most highly compensated players. Six Crimson Tide players are in the top 100 from Jermaine Burton at $196K to Bryce Young at $3.1M.

The others are Will Anderson Jr. ($1.3M), Jordan Battle ($346K), Jahmyr Gibbs ($234K) and Henry To’oto’o ($229K).

What about the other Nick Saban players?

Snippets of information have been shared but only for a few players. How accurate is the information, is not known.

The company Opendorse which helps athletes find deals has provided some data, though it is several months old. Ross Dellinger published it in the tweet below. Keep in mind, that the averages include all college sports, not just football players. The numbers are calculated on one month of compensation.

Why is there a potential problem? For example, Bryce Young with a $3.1M NIL valuation cannot succeed unless his receivers and offensive lineman also perform at a high level. If the Crimson Tide offensive lineman are getting ‘Texas-level’ compensation of $50K, might jealousy by some hinder team cohesion?

Nick Saban has a solution.

"(NIL is) going to create problems in the locker room unless everybody gets the same thing – which is the model we’re going to have.As coaches, the way I feel about it is we’re there to create a platform for our players to be successful and you create value for their future.That’s what we want to stay focused on, not how much money a guy’s going to make while he’s going to college."

There are no available details on how Nick Saban intends to accomplish his goal. Even to ardent Alabama football fans, it appears what Saban has defined as the goal is impossible to achieve. Maybe it could have happened before the first NIL deal was made, but not now.

Many Alabama fans can embrace Saban’s intent. Many others will worry if Saban pulls it off, will it make the Crimson Tide less successful in attracting elite athletes.

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All of us must wait to see how Saban’s plan plays out. Bama Hammer will provide updates as we learn more information.