It’s a good thing Alabama and Texas A&M are meeting next season because they have a score to settle.
Nick Saban spoke with business leaders over dinner in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday ahead of the World Games in the city. The Alabama coach again criticized how some programs violate name, image and likeness rules. This time, Saban mentioned Texas A&M by name and singled them out.
“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for people who spend tons of money to get players. You’ve read about it, you know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. A&M was the first. A&M bought all the players on their team. We made a deal for name, image and likeness,” Saban said, via AL.com’s Mike Rodak.
“We haven’t bought a single player. OK? But I don’t know if we will be able to maintain this in the future, because more and more people are doing it. It’s hard.”
These are direct shots at A&M, which has faced all sorts of allegations regarding its recruiting methods. According to 247Sports, Texas A&M has the No. 1 ranked recruiting class, while Alabama is ranked second.
Is Saban trying to strictly enforce NIL rules? Or is he trying to get Alabama business leaders to scale up and fund the program? For now, it looks like it’s just trying to make it known that it’s not breaking the rules, while A&M does.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is a former assistant to Saban. Last year, he became Saban’s first former assistant to beat the mastermind.
This year, the teams are scheduled to face off in Tuscaloosa on October 8. There is no doubt that the Tide will have this game surrounded. It could get ugly.