Speaking with Joe Buck and Michael Collins on ESPN’s PGA Championship broadcast, Saban said that it was “not my intention to really criticize anyone,” but that he wanted to “make a point about the state of college football and college athletics right now.”
“I think we have some unintended consequences of name, image and likeness in some of the circumstances that we’re in right now,” Saban said, according to On3. “The spirit of competition is what has made sports popular, created a lot of fan interest.”BENDER: Saban, Fisher both miss the mark as they make their feud personal
On Saturday’s ESPN broadcast, Saban continued to speak on the importance of parity in the sport, following up on comments he made on “The Paul Finebaum Show.”“We’ve always had guardrails on rules that govern competitive sports to create parity, and I think the situation that we’re in now in college football, we don’t have that,” Saban said on Saturday, per On3. “There’s a lot of Division I schools that aren’t going to be able to do the same things that other Division I schools can do to create opportunities for players in some kind of way.
“I’m all for the opportunities for the players, but some way, we’ve got to create a balance in all that.”
Saban spoke about how NIL has impacted college football at an event in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday, and took aim at both Texas A&M and Jackson State. He said that the Aggies “bought every player on their team” by making NIL deals to entice them to College Station, Texas.
He also said that Jackson State paid a player “a million dollars” to sign with them, likely referring to Travis Hunter, the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class, who stunned the world by flipping from Florida State to Jackson State.
“We didn’t buy one player,” Saban said on Wednesday. “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.”
Both Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders fired back at Saban, with Fisher calling Saban a “narcissist” and Sanders saying that he and Saban need to have a public talk.
Saban said he didn’t want to get into a verbal argument with Fisher, according to ESPN’s Brandon Zimmerman, adding that it “wasn’t my intention to single anybody out, but I don’t take things personally.”
“Some people, when they compete against each other, everything’s personal,” Saban said. “It’s never been that way for me. Bill Belichick and I are best friends. We were in the same division for two years [in the NFL] when I was in Miami and I never had an issue.”