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Nick Saban doesn’t seem thrilled with the development of NIL inquiries from potential new recruits.
The Alabama head football coach reportedly told attendees at the 18th annual Alabama Football Coaches Association convention Thursday in Montgomery that a cornerback recruit paid $800,000 to sign with Crimson Tide and another player on the transfer portal $500,000. dollars, according to OutKick’s Glenn Guilbeau and AL.com’s Nick Alvarez.
Reportedly, Saban turned down both players.
One of the ALFCA convention attendees, Baker High School coach Steve Normand, told Guilbeau that here’s what Saban said about the cornerback: “Someone with one of the best corners in the nation [in high school] came up to me and asked if we would pay them $800,000 to have the player sign here. I told him he could find another place to play. … I don’t pay a kid a bunch of ZERO money before he’s earned it.
Clarence Williams, the offense and recruitment coordinator at Ramsay High, was also in attendance and told Alvarez that Saban said, “This isn’t the school for you then because it’s not fair to those who are already here, for someone to come in and ask who hasn’t snapped and proven themselves at this level and already asked for money.
Saban reportedly told attendees that the player on the transfer portal who requested $500,000 also asked for his girlfriend to be enrolled in law school in Alabama and have her tuition covered.
“I showed him the door,” Saban is said to have said.
Saban, 71, has been critical of NIL deals in the past. In May, he accused Texas A&M of buying its 2022 recruit class, which ended up at the top of the 247Sports leaderboard. Alabama was number 2.
“I know the consequences will be difficult for people who are spending tons of money to get players,” he said at a business event, per AL.com’s Mike Rodak. “You’ve read about them, you know who they are. We were second in recruitment last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team.
There is no question that the NIL rules have changed the landscape of college recruitment. There’s also no question that head coaches like Saban have exorbitant sums of money from college football, with Saban reportedly under contract for eight years and $93.6 million.
That always lends a touch of hypocrisy to complaints about a system that now allows collegiate athletes to also make money from the multi-billion dollar sport they participate in, even given the unregulated nature of the current system of the NIL landscape gave a wild west feeling.
It has undoubtedly made life more complicated for coaches like Saban. Whether that’s actually a bad thing for the sport or its athletes is another debate altogether.