Alabama’s Nick Saban wants NIL rule changes but will adapt quickly to college football changes again

ATLANTE – Alabama coach Nick Saban has navigated the ever-changing landscape of college athletics numerous times throughout his coaching career, including the rise of fast-paced offenses, the transition from the BCS to the college football playoffs and the recruiting budgets that schools began to flood into recruiting once SEC revenues skyrocketed.

Navigating in today’s world is her biggest challenge yet. The confluence of NCAA name, image and likeness rules that allow players to benefit from their marketing value, along with a transfer portal the size of a mid-sized village, has made the work of head coaches harder than them. have never been. Saban explained where his schedule is at after NIL’s first year of existence on Tuesday during SEC Media Days.

“I don’t hate the name, image and likeness. I’m all for the players,” he said. “I want our players to be successful. Our players have earned over $3 million in name, image and likeness. I am all for players being able to do their best and use their name, image and likeness to creating value for We have a great brand in Alabama, so the players are definitely — their value there is going to be enhanced because of the value our brand can help them create.”

Saban supports players who make money from their name, but it’s the lack of consistency that bothers him about the current state of college athletics.

“The thing that I sort of expressed, not concerns, but there needs to be some consistency and protocol on how name and image and likeness is implemented,” he said. he declares. “I think there are probably a few factors that are important in that regard. How does that affect the competitive balance in college athletics? And is there transparency to maintain fairness? at all levels in terms of college athletics? How do we protect the players? Because there are more and more people trying to come between the player and the money.”

Using NIL as a recruiting inducement is against NCAA rules, but Saban’s main concern is the lack of enforcement it happens at all levels.

“On the recruiting track right now, there are a lot of people who are using this as incentives to go to their school by making promises about whether or not they may be able to accommodate what they’re doing. players,” he said. “I think that’s what can create a competitive balance issue between haves and have-nots. We’re one of the haves. Don’t think what I’m saying is a concern we have in Alabama because we’re one. Not everyone in college football can do those things in terms of how they fundraise in a collective or whatever, how they distribute money to players.

Saban has hit the transfer portal hard, including this year when he lured wide receiver Jermaine Burton away from Georgia, defensive back Eli Ricks away from LSU and running back Jahmyr Gibbs away from Georgia Tech. This follows the 2021 season when former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams and former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o were two of the star transfers moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He also lost his share of contributors, including this year when linebacker Drew Sanders moved from Alabama to Arkansas. Simply put, Saban understands what gamers are thinking in this new era.

“I think it’s going to work both ways,” he said. “I think some of the very good players in this league will have opportunities to go elsewhere, but I also think there will be players who come back to this league who can also improve their value as players because of the opportunity that will be created for them by playing at this level. All good things.”

Can Saban adapt to the new era? There is no indication that it will not.

Saban complained of speeding up violations to the point that he and former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema lobbied officials to slam the ball before 10 seconds over the game clock a penalty. At the same time, he was implementing his own fast-paced offense and ending the idea of ​​defenses winning championships.

Saban went from recruiting game managers to quarterbacks to true difference makers, including Young and former star Tua Tagovailoa.

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