The sport of football is under attack.
Everything from coaching hires to concussions has been scrutinized.
Now one football coach just unloaded on a rival during a jaw-dropping press conference.
College athletics have been criticized for years for not allowing student athletes to get paid.
After years of battle, the players finally got a chance to monetize their ability without jeopardizing their amateur status with name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals.
But the largely unregulated NIL market has caused massive upheaval and frustration.
Future Hall of Fame coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is one of the coaches who doesn’t like where NIL is headed.
During an event, he accused SEC West division rival Texas A&M of buying all of their recruits.
Saban said, “We were second in recruiting last year, A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn’t buy one player. But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it.”
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, who won a national championship in 2003 at LSU under Saban as the offensive coordinator, was incensed at his former boss.
Fisher called a special press conference to address Saban’s claims, and didn’t hold back.
Jimbo Fisher taking a blow torch to Nick Saban. I’ve never seen anything like this in college football. Not in public, anyway. This is deeply personal: pic.twitter.com/JDbPQQhAB3
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) May 19, 2022
Alabama—and other major programs, particularly in the SEC—have been accused of offering inducements to players in order to earn their commitment.
Under-the-table deals have been happening for decades, but few schools and players ever get caught red-handed.
During his presser, Fisher insinuated that Saban was dirty and he and other former assistants know where the bodies are buried.
Saban also took a shot at Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who’s currently the coach at Jackson State, a historically black college/university (HBCU).
HBCUs do not compete at the FBS (football bowl subdivision) level, so Jackson State and Sanders raised eyebrows when he signed two high-level prospects out of the blue, including the number one overall recruit in the country.
Saban commented, “Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school…It was in the paper. They bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it.”
Sanders immediately hit back at Saban:
You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) May 19, 2022
The battle over NIL is likely to rage on.
Thus far, everything has been above board as Fisher explained, but alumni might have to scale back if they don’t get a proper return on investment.