I don’t think it’s any big secret how Jimbo Fisher’s school has leapfrogged the rest of the country when it comes to the quality of this year’s signing class. It’s a studly group coming to College Station, and that’s putting it mildly. For a price, evidently.
It’s also creating some serious butthurt in the SEC West. Junior’s bemoaning it, for one.
“We are just trying to do it better than anybody else,” Kiffin said. “We now have a sport that has completely different salary caps. Some of these schools (have) five, 10 times more than everybody else (with) what they can pay the players. I know no one uses these phrases, but that is what it is. I joked the other day if Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax in how much they paid for their signing class.”
“We now have a sport that has completely different salary caps.” That’s rich, coming from the school that made “email email@example.com” a national punch line.
But it’s the king who’s most grievously offended.
“When we start using name, image and likeness for a kid to come to our school, that’s where I draw the line,” he said. “Because that’s not why we did this.”
Saban said it has become such that players are weighing prospective NIL earnings among schools and “we all gotta make a deal.”
“I hear these crazy people on TV who say now you’re doing it above board,” he said. “We never did it. We never did it. We never cheated to get a player. We never paid players to come to our school.
“And now that’s actually happening. People are making deals with high school players to go to their school.”
Saban said it’s simple: The schools with the most money — whether through alumni backing or other means — “have the best chance to have the best team.”
“It’s not about coaching and developing as much as it is, what kind of money can you make?” he said.
It’s funny how he never felt that way when ‘Bama was enticing players with a facilities arms race and spiraling coaches’ salaries.
You don’t have to like the path NIL has begun to chart to want to sneer a little at the change in attitude. And I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts if things don’t change soon enough on the NIL front to Saban’s suiting, ‘Bama will be right there in the money chase.
By the way, speaking of Saban, kudos to Scarborough for noting this:
Saban also took issue with the way the transfer portal discourages players from dealing with adversity, as he put it.
“It’s great that players have the freedom to do what they can do, but I also don’t think we should create circumstances where they don’t have the make the commitment and see things through,” he said.
While Alabama hasn’t been as active as some schools in terms of the transfer market, Saban hasn’t shied away from bringing in top talent.
Former Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams became Alabama’s leading receiver this season.
This offseason, Alabama has added former LSU All-American defensive back Eli Ricks and former Georgia Tech All-ACC running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
Alabama also gained the commitment of former Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton, who went head to head with the Tide during the national championship.
You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty impressive that Saban’s grasp of the human condition is so deep that he’s able to ascertain which kids have that sense of commitment and seeing things through and which don’t.
I guess that explains why Jameson Williams was a one-and-done at Alabama.
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