Alabama football head coach Nick Saban spoke out about NIL concerns, worried that “buying players” is not a sustainable practice in college football.
Everyone is trying to get to grips with the major changes in college football over the last couple of years, including Alabama’s Nick Saban.
The national title-winning head coach weighed in on his concerns about name, image and likeness developments.
“I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainable model,” Saban told the Associated Press. “[The current model] creates a situation where you can basically buy players. You can do it in recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know.”
Nick Saban thinks ‘buying players’ is not sustainable for college football
Let’s get the cheeky response out of the way quickly: College football programs have been allegedly “buying players” for a hundred years. It’s just all out in the open now.
With that done, Saban makes a solid point about sustainability. It was one echoing recent comments from USC’s Lincoln Riley, Ole Miss’s Lane Kiffin, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and others.
The issue isn’t with players getting paid. It’s the Wild West nature of the whole setup. There seem to be no regulations or structure. It’s a feeding frenzy and it’s not good for the stability of the sport. The NCAA resisted change for so long, they weren’t prepared in the slightest for it to come barrelling down the hill.
“It’s fine for players to get money. I’m all for that. I’m not against that. But there also has to be some responsibility on both ends, which you could call a contract. So that you have an opportunity to develop people in a way that’s going to help them be successful,” Saban said.
Saban wants one particular model.
“We give everybody the same medical care, academic support, food service. Same scholarship. So if we’re going to do this, then everybody is going to benefit equally. I’m not going to create a caste system on our team,” Saban said.
In truth, the cat is probably out of the bag on that one. When quarterbacks like Bryce Young can command a million dollars on the open market, it’s going to be tough to convince players to go along with a model like Saban is proposing.
Still, someone has to step up and put some sort of structure in place. Increasingly it’s clear college football needs a commissioner or some other figure to drive this conversation.
Until that happens, it’ll just be coaches talking about a system they have to navigate as best they can.