Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Don’t bury me, ’cause I’m not dead yet.

A few commenters here were bold enough to predict that this year’s finish in the recruiting rankings indicated something big:  that Alabama’s obscene run was over for good, Kirby being the new sheriff in town and all that.

Not so fast, my friend.  Nick is still Nick, it appears.

With Eboigbe’s commitment, Alabama separates even further from second place Oklahoma in the 2019 recruiting race. After struggling in 2018 to get as many interior lineman as Saban wanted, he’s come back with 4 commits in Eboigbe, Antonio Alfano, Rashad Cheney, and DJ Dale.

Alabama’s 2019 class sits at number on in ESPN’s recruiting ratings and in 247 Sports’, as well.  This is not to say Georgia isn’t doing well — the Dawgs sit at fourth in the former and sixth in the latter (with the highest average) — but the idea that Kirby would ruin Saban on the recruiting trail sure seems like wishful thinking at the moment.

Especially when you see something like this…

Saban is also making a statement in the state of Georgia after Kirby Smart was seen to have put a fence around the state last year. Eboigbe is the 4th Georgia player to commit to Alabama, and the 3rd in the top 15 in the state.

… and wonder if Smart’s success in 2018 may have charged up his mentor.

Saban is just a different beast and it might be wise to keep that in mind.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Things Kirby and Saban hate, from someone who ought to know

Don’t know how I missed this clip before, but it’s Mike Bobo talking about what Alabama and Georgia were up to on the opening series of the national championship game.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics

“It was counterproductive for the player.”

Maybe it’s just me, but it’s a little funny to hear a guy who thinks it’s taking a major risk to let a back up offensive lineman transfer to a conference rival defend providing an open-door policy — and I mean the door’s wide open — to all sorts of NFL personnel.

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The Process works in mysterious ways, my friends.

Oh, Booch.  I hope it’s worth it.

After that, he had to go pick up Saban’s dry cleaning.

I guess this is how Nick breaks a former head coach down until he’s ready to do things the right way.  It’s kind of like running a communist re-education camp.

(I keed, I keed.)

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Whoa, oh, Alabama

So, last week I posted about an interview with Maurice Smith in which he discussed the circumstances surrounding his transfer to Georgia.  One thing he made very clear in that discussion was that Kirby Smart never approached him about joining him in Athens, despite having plenty of opportunity to do so.

TRO: Did coach Smart (Alabama defensive coordinator) or coach Tucker (Alabama defensive backs coach) let you know before they took their jobs with Georgia that they may be moving, and that there would be interest in bringing you along if they did move? 

Smith: Honestly, it sounds funny, but we never even spoke about it. My relationship with coach Smart at ‘Bama was not what it could have been — it was not that strong or close. He recruited me out of high school, but once I was there a couple of things happened and went the route they did just because of him. It wasn’t like I didn’t like him or anything like that. I just didn’t understand what was going on.

Before the National Title game, we knew he was leaving, but he never spoke about it. Obviously, there were the little things: “You do what you do, and you will have success”. That kind of thing. But in terms of a conversation about me following him, that never crossed our minds.

The fine folks at Roll Bama Roll ain’t buyin’ that story, no siree.  Their version of reality boils down to a simple assertion of “There is outright alleged player tampering — looking at you Maurice Smith.”

Nice strike through, fellas.  Why don’t you just come out and call Smart a real shitbird and be done with it?

This comes in the context of defending the current order.

When players sign their LOI at Alabama, they freely enter a bargain that goes like this: You will receive the benefit of years of the best housing, development, training, national exposure, coaching, nutrition, career and professional mentoring, health care, rehabilitation, dining, and facilities in the nation, all on top of a free world-class education and monthly stipend, and you shall do so against the best competition that the sport provides. In return, you covenant that if you wish to transfer, after haven taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of the university’s investment in you, tangible or otherwise, that the university will not waive your transfer. Morever, in order to cut down on tampering, skullduggery and free agency, such transfers as you wish to make may generally not be inside the conference or with a team on our schedule. If you want to do so, you’ll have to go through the league, the NCAA, and then sit out. We’re not waiving it. Deal?

And, in the end, they have all agreed to the bargain: to the obligations that each side owe another and that each side shall act in good faith towards the other.

That’s really what’s at stake here. The university is not profiting off of Player A that has ridden the pine for two years, so much as the University has made a significant material investment in that player. And that player has willfully taken those benefits and did so knowing what the university promised to do for him during the course of a career. But, by entering into that agreement in a sport with limited finite resources, and more than a little bit of cheating, the player knows that the school has a right to safeguard its intellectual property — so this is what he promises back to the school; obligations do not flow one way.

It is all I can do not to laugh out loud reading that.  They lost me at “freely”, admittedly, but besides that, what seventeen-year old kid do you know who can firmly grasp concepts like a school having “a right to safeguard its intellectual property”?  Especially in a world where coaches leave one school for a rival seemingly at the drop of a hat (looking at you, Jeremy Pruitt, to borrow some snark here), this is more than just a slight stretch.

And this is particularly rich:

LOIs are not cash contracts; they are in-kind contracts. The players wish to be treated as paraprofessionals and adults. Honoring a contract you freely enter into, even the liquidation provisions that you do not like; honoring your end of contract that you have knowingly taken the benefits from, is part of being a professional. And it’s absolutely the grown-up, real world.

So we’re talking contracts now, and the grown-up, real world?  Not sure what a “paraprofessional” is, although I suspect it’s a weasel word made up to avoid the full consequences of what a contractual relationship implies, but let me say as someone who reviews contracts for a living that if you want to restrict an employee’s movement upon leaving your place of work, that’s what non-compete clauses are for, not some amorphous understanding of a right to safeguard intellectual property.  And non-competes are notorious for having to be specific to be enforceable.

Again, the whole problem here are the mental gymnastics on display to somehow distinguish making it proper for coaches to do to student-athletes what they don’t do to each other (Bert being a notable exception).  It’s a flimsy argument at best that’s demolished by what happens in the real world they point to — a real world that, by the way, doesn’t allow kids to have legal representation before signing a letter of intent.

What’s really going on here is that these guys know just as well as Saban does that his line of patter about how changing the in-conference transfer rule would benefit Alabama more than any other school is utter bullshit.  If you accumulate the most talent, you’ve got the most to lose if player movement is liberalized.  There’s no shame in admitting that.  The problem comes when you try to shame  players into staying when their preference lies elsewhere.

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Nick Saban has lost control of Mr. Conventional Wisdom.

As the cliché goes, when you’ve lost Tony Barnhart…

It’s officially time to throw in the towel, Nick.

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“So why is that on me?”

Pissy Nick Saban is the best Nick Saban.

Ooh — take that, Greg Sankey!  Nick’s just being a good soldier, doncha know.  Rules are rules, and all that.

Never mind that those rules exist to benefit the Nick Sabans of the conference.  You know, the coaches for whom this kind of mindset is second nature.

In a letter earlier this month, Alabama denied Kennedy the ability to contact any SEC school and seven future nonconference opponents, including The Citadel.

The Citadel?

“When we make a rule that guys can transfer whenever they want to transfer, how are we supposed to get people to do what they should do?” Saban asked.

Yeah, it’s a shame, that.  If you don’t pay the help, how else can a poor ol’ head coach keep them in line?  I mean… well, let Nick do a little more hole digging.

“I’m not talking about as football players, I’m talking about as people. I’m talking about making good choices and decisions. … If a guy is missing class and I say you’re not going to play in this game because you’re missing class, which I’ve done on occasion, and he says, ‘I’m transferring,’ is that good?”

Except that’s not what we’re talking about here.  Let Kirby Smart explain.

“Most people get a graduate degree where? Where they got their undergrad or somewhere else? Usually somewhere else,” Smart said. “So if they’re going to graduate school for that purpose somewhere else, I don’t see the issue. … If they want to do that, they should be able to do that.”

Smart shut down the idea that it was unfair that one program could invest the time and energy to develop players only for them to leave and benefit a rival.

“You mean just like we do with coaches, right?” Smart said. “Just like I left Alabama and all of the secrets that I learned when I was there went with me. Muschamp took all those secrets from LSU. Jimbo [Fisher] took all those secrets from LSU. Now Jeremy [Pruitt] has all those secrets. I don’t see it that way.”

The kids in question are graduates.  They’ve made good choices and decisions.  Saban’s pissy, but not because they’re throwing away their lives.  It’s all about loss of control.  At least Ed Orgeron’s honest about that.

“I’m just not for it,” Orgeron said. “I think if a kid’s going to go play in another conference it’s stuff like that, it’s fair. I’d hate to see one of our guys go to our opponents. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of the sport.”

The spirit of the sport?  If you’re a coach, you know what that means.

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