The problem I have with this Wall Street Journal attack piece on Nick Saban is the premise:
… The three players said they believe Mr. Saban falsely portrayed the circumstances of their departures to protect the image of his program. Mr. Saban had previously come under scrutiny by the media for offering scholarships to more incoming recruits than the school could accommodate under NCAA scholarship limits. This relatively common practice, which is known as “oversigning” is not prohibited by the NCAA. It allows a coach to improve his roster by giving him a larger pool of talent to choose from. But it also eventually forces the coach to get rid of a few scholarship players he no longer wants—which can put him at risk of scaring away future recruits.
If Mr. Saban had said the players decided to transfer because they didn’t believe they would have a chance to play at Alabama, the players said, it would have provided ammunition for rival coaches competing for the same recruits. But if the players were seen as disciplinary cases, they said, Mr. Saban’s recruiting methods wouldn’t be viewed as the problem. Mr. Saban, Mr. Preyear said, “was just making himself look good for the media, and making us look bad.”
Again, is there anybody familiar with SEC football who isn’t familiar with Saban’s modus operandi at this point? Top recruits aren’t being scared away from Alabama, despite all the attention paid to oversigning in every Tide class. Nick Saban isn’t paid to care about what the media thinks about him; he’s paid to get talent in the door and win games. He’s succeeding at that impressively.
Also, it doesn’t exactly help make your case when it’s disclosed about the four players who were dismissed for violating teams rules that two had earlier disciplinary problems resulting in suspensions and a third isn’t currently playing because of academic issues (at Alabama State, which I didn’t know was even possible).
I don’t doubt that some opposing programs try to use this stuff on the recruiting trail and for them this article will likely add another arrow to the quiver. But it doesn’t seem to slow the ‘Bama staff down terribly. Besides, it sounds like Saban has his own materials to waive around.
… Mr. Lawrence said he thought about calling Mr. Saban and asking for an explanation but decided instead to write a letter thanking the coach for recruiting him—in case he might need Mr. Saban to call coaches on his behalf in the future…
Such is how life often works.