Nick Saban doesn’t think everyone is playing by the same rules. The Alabama head football coach spoke at an event in Birmingham last night and called out two other programs for using the NCAA’s new Name, Image and Likeness regulations to essentially “buy” recruits.
In tweets from AL.com’s Mike Rodak, Saban is quoted as saying that Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher “bought every player on their team” while the Crimson Tide “didn’t buy one player.” Later on, Saban addressed Travis Hunter choosing to sign and play for Deion Sanders at Jackson State, saying “they paid a guy a million dollars” to persuade the five-star recruit to attend the HBCU.
Fisher has not had a chance to respond yet, but Sanders took to Twitter late last night around 11 p.m. CT and made his followers aware that “you best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told.” Two hours later at 1 a.m. CT, Sanders tweeted out a video that had a clip of him checking his watch with his famous phrase “YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS,” followed by “I WILL BE ADDRESSING THE LIES THAT WERE TOLD BY NICK SABAN SOON.”
According to On3 Sports, Alabama still topped the 2021 recruiting rankings, with Texas A&M down at the No. 7 spot. But for the Class of 2022, the Aggies are in the top spot with Alabama in the rear-view mirror at No. 2.
Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin and Others Chime in
Meanwhile, Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin – known as a shrewd recruiter and tweeter himself – quote-tweeted the Saban statement with a gif of Peyton Manning blowing on his finger guns and holstering them. Andrew Brandt, a well-known sports business expert, thought these comments were a ploy by Saban to try and spur more Tuscaloosa businesses to get more involved in NIL dealings for his players.
Does Saban have a point here, or is it just sour grapes after losing out to some high-profile recruits over the past year? Because earlier in the night, the coach shared that 25 Alabama players earned $3 million in NIL revenue this past season, but they did it “the right way” – whatever that means.
Either way, the comments left college football fans licking their lips to see how Sanders will respond today, as well as what effect this will have on some fierce rivalries in the SEC. Leave it to Saban to make headlines in May.