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Alabama’s Nick Saban wants NIL change, fears ‘situation where you can basically buy players’


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Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he was upset with the current name, image and likeness (NIL) system in college football and likened it to buying players .

Saban told The Associated Press that the NCAA’s current way of doing business is not sustainable.

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to players during a timeout in the first half of a game against Auburn on Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.
(AP Photo/Dill Butch)

“The concept of name, image and likeness was that players could use their name, image and likeness to create opportunities for themselves. That’s what it was,” Saban said. “So last year on our team, our guys probably won as much or more than anybody in the country.”

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young had a sponsorship deal with a local BMW dealership, Jameson Williams had a deal with Bose, and Kool-Aid McKinstry signed a deal with Kool-Aid.

NIL offers have been closely linked to recruitment with the hotter than ever college transfer portal.

“But it creates a situation where you can basically buy players,” Saban added. “You can do that by recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know. And you can also get players into the transfer portal to see if they can. getting more from them can happen to you.”

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to an official during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship game against Georgia on Dec. 4, 2021 in Atlanta.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to an official during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship game against Georgia on Dec. 4, 2021 in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Saban said he supported player compensation, but added there was an issue with players being free to move between schools without repercussions.

“We now have an NFL model without a contract, but everyone has free agency,” he said. “It’s good that the players get the money. I totally agree. I’m not against it. But there also has to be some responsibility on both sides, what you could call a contract .So that you have the opportunity to develop people in a way that will help them succeed.”

Saban is one of the highest paid state employees, earning around $10 million last season. He guided Alabama to six national championships.

“So you’re going to have to implement changes, some kind of a way to always create a level playing field,” he said. “And there’s no salary cap. So whichever school decides to pay the most, they have the best chance of having the best team. And it’s never been college football, no more.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban watches the players warm up for the College Football Playoff Championship against Georgia on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis.

Alabama coach Nick Saban watches the players warm up for the College Football Playoff Championship against Georgia on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Saban said he would support everyone on his team to get equal treatment instead of creating what he called a “caste system”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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