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Recently retired Nick Saban rips NIL: 'What we have now is not college football'

Recently retired Nick Saban rips NIL: 'What we have now is not college football'

 


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Several prominent members of the football world have said that Nick Saban retired because NIL reigns supreme – perhaps they were right.

Saban, 72, called it a career in January — an illustrious career that included seven national championships, making him perhaps the greatest college football coach of all time.

However, the recent rise in name, image and likeness (NIL) agreements has changed a lot in college athletics, and it's not what Saban is used to.

“What we have now is not college football, not college football as we know it. You hear someone use the word 'student-athlete'. That doesn't exist,” Saban said in an interview with ESPN, where he recently started working as 'College GameDay' analyst.

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Nick Saban talks to reporters

Alabama head coach Nick Saban answers media questions during the Heisman Trophy press conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York on December 11, 2021 in New York City. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saban said he wants to have a voice that will bring “meaningful change” and prepare athletes for life after sports if they don't turn pro.

“I know I want to impact college football in the best way I can, whether that's as a spokesperson or something else,” Saban said. “Listen, I'm for the players. It's not that I'm not for the players. I want the players to have a great quality of life and to be able to create value for themselves. But we haven't gone to anybody who talks about education, nobody talks about creating value for their future, about just talking about how much money I can make while I'm in college.

“I think the consequence of this could be when some of these guys get to be 28 and 29 years old and they might not have prepared for the moment when they can't play football anymore. That's what you should do when you leave. ” to university.”

Nick Saban before facing Auburn

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban prior to their game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

5 FAVORITE NICK SABAN MOMENTS AS SEVEN-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPION STOPS IT

“But what you have now is not a name, image and likeness,” he added. “A collective has nothing to do with name, image and likeness.”

“Just like an NFL player has a contract or a coach has a contract, there's something there, so you don't have all this roster raiding and mass movement,” he said. “I wonder what fans are going to say if they don't even know the team from year to year, because there is no development of teams, but new players come in every year.”

Saban was previously critical of NIL, saying players went “where they could make the most money.”

He even reportedly turned down two players who were looking for more than $1 million in such a deal.

Saban was one of the leaders of the SEC contingent that headed to Washington DC last summer to meet with lawmakers in their efforts to regulate NIL.

“I don't think there will be a level playing field because some people were willing to spend more than others,” Saban said at the time. “Whereas, if you want to get the NFL involved, they have a salary cap. They have all the things that level the playing field. We can set guidelines for this that would do the same thing.”

Nick Saban is watching LSU again

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on during pre-game warmups ahead of the showdown with the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 4, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Granted, Saban doesn't really have a solution and knows others, especially SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, are better suited to find one.

“It's one thing to come up with a solution. It's another to implement it,” he said. “I'm just here to help.”

Saban won six of his titles with Alabama and one with LSU in 2003.

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