Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

Nick Saban is not – repeat, NOT – having a very good week.

Tyren Jones gets the unceremonious boot from Tuscaloosa, which, if memory serves, just about wipes out that much ballyhooed 2013 running back class Saban signed.

Yeah, I know.  Shit happens.  Kids will be kids.  I’m not pointing any fingers at Saban for running an out of control program.

But I can’t help but wonder why nobody of national prominence *** cough *** Herbstreit *** cough *** is either.

Just sayin’.

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Awkward moments in corporate sponsorship

I bet Coke is thrilled with its product placement at yesterday’s Nick Saban press conference.

VASHA HUNT — AP

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“I’m not sorry for giving him an opportunity. I’m sorry for how things worked out.”

Holly Anderson tries to figure out how Alabama got itself into the pickle it did with Jonathan Taylor in this excellent piece, or, as Spencer Hall succinctly phrases it,  “why the hell did Alabama even bother with Jonathan Taylor in the first place?”.

Spencer goes on to say “Because he’s good at football isn’t a good enough answer”, and that may be a start, but my feeling about why it did so is that the simpler truth is, well, because it could.  When you operate in an environment where nobody questions your decision making, it’s not surprising that at some point you become imbued with a sense of personal infallibility. Sure, Nick Saban appreciated the talents of Jonathan Taylor and how those talents could benefit the Alabama program, but more than that, Saban believed he had the Taylor situation under control from the start, simply because he’s Nick Saban.

Saban is not a bad person.  He’s not corrupt.  He is shrewd and directs a program that has almost unlimited resources with which to operate at a pinnacle virtually unmatched in college football.  Alabama recruits like nobody’s business.  That’s both its glory and the reason bringing Taylor into the mix is such a puzzle to some.

Call Alabama a victim of its own institutional hubris, if you like.  It’s as good an explanation as any.

And now that Taylor has taken his third strike, where do things go for Saban and Alabama?  Holly pretty much diagrams the first play when she writes,

The Taylor episode will subside, at worst, into what will euphemistically be called a “distraction” for the football program. It won’t take long. That particular elision when we discuss these things, that inertia, takes hold so quickly, so insidiously. Difficulties, you know. By the time we all reconvene in July for SEC Media Days, Saban will be deploying that “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed, but also mad” face full-time. He’ll rattle off whatever combination of word-pap he has calculated will get him out of that topic the quickest, in a tone of stern patience that says we should know better than to ask. And truth be told, maybe we should. We already know how much good it’ll do anyone.

And that, unsurprisingly, is where Saban quickly went at Monday’s press conference.

6:40: Saban on Jonathan Taylor: “I think it’s very unfortunate that the guy came here with some very specific guidelines and zero tolerance and obviously didn’t live up to that. While we’ve created many opportunities for players through the years, sometimes those things have worked out extremely well, we’re sad to say in this case it didn’t. We all take responsibility for that.”

“We all take responsibility”?  As in the school as well as the player?  Well, maybe.

Or maybe not.

Owning up to a share of the responsibility, it seems to me, would involve shedding some light on why Saban thought – really thought, not offering up some second chance bullshit about a football player who still had outstanding legal issues to resolve in Athens when Saban made the call – the decision to give Taylor an Alabama scholarship was a defensible one. Or as Hall puts it,

And yes, I’m pretty sure Nick Saban shouldn’t have touched him in the first place, but that’s not the repellent part of the conversation here. That the first question asked is: What is or isn’t in the interests of a college football program? That’s the move, to run to the institution and fret about its decisions and the reputation of the extremely wealthy men running this institution, and not about the people involved. That’s the nauseating thing after the act to me. It just is, and even after trying I can’t really even begin to articulate all the reasons why.* It just feels like failure in every goddamn direction, including this one.

Yeah.  But that’s not the kind of thing a person immersed in a sense of infallibility is going to be forthcoming about on his own.  I’m not sure Saban is even ready to be honest with himself about why he did it.  And so at the presser, he ended the discussion in the only way he knew how.

Though I’m not sure the passive-aggressive handling of the media and the resort to euphemistic gobbledygook is going to be the end of this story, no matter how much Saban wills it to be so.  Because there is still one wild card out there – the victim.  And while Bill Battle nauseatingly equated her situation with that of her alleged attacker’s by hoping both could deal with the situation “constructively”, there are several ways for her to take his suggestion.

The obvious one being under advice of counsel.

The 6-foot-4, 335-pound Taylor is accused of choking his victim in the Athens case. According to Tuscaloosa police, Taylor’s 24-year-old female victim had “minor injuries to her neck from the assault” this past Saturday.

That has put Alabama, which went to great lengths to defend Taylor’s admission, at considerable legal risk. Taylor was dismissed by the Crimson Tide on Sunday, and it’s likely the university will take similar steps this week.

In the end, will it come to a threat of litigation?  There are plenty of reasons in this day and age to think it never will – everything from local hostility (think how the FSU community reacted to the Winston matter) to taking care of business behind the scenes – but if she elects to pursue the school to hold it accountable for its poor judgment, and people like Saban and Battle face a future where both are forced to answer questions under oath in a deposition setting, trotting out the old standby “let’s move on” won’t cut it.

Which, ultimately, is why it’ll never come to pass.  Infallibility sometimes has to be enabled.  And if there’s one resource Alabama has plenty of, it’s enablers.  Meanwhile, I guess we’ll wait for Geno Smith’s inevitable return to good graces and the starting lineup.

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Is there a Fourth Chance U out there?

If ever there’s a moment when Mark Richt says to himself, “there but for the grace of God go I”, it’s probably about now.

Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor was arrested Saturday night and charged with domestic violence third degree assault and domestic violence third degree criminal mischief, according to the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

This time, it’s somebody else who’s lost control.  (I eagerly await Kirk Herbstreit’s condemnation.)

“We recruited this young man out of high school,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in February. “We felt that what we knew about him, what his high school coaches said about him, from what people at the school he was at said about him and where he came from in junior college that he was the kind of guy that deserved a second chance. “But with that chance we also have stipulations and things that he needs to do from a personal-development standpoint so that he won’t make any kind of mistake like this again. That’s an on-going process with him. That’s something that we continue to monitor, and it’s something he’s done a very good job with.”

So much for the Process. You can assume Taylor’s gone, because Saban doesn’t have time for that shit. But tomorrow’s presser ought to be epic.

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UPDATE:  PAWWWLLL!!!

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UPDATE #2:  The deed is done.

Zero-tolerance for some who was already in trouble with the law? Hokay.

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UPDATE #3: Mark Schlabach rips Saban and ‘Bama a new one. And here’s a great quote:

Make no mistake: Alabama’s decision wasn’t about rehabilitation and second chances. It was about winning, and now the Crimson Tide look like big losers — from the top down. It’s not like Alabama is Louisville, where Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino seems to take any SEC reject as he tries to build his program. The Crimson Tide have the pick of the litter when it comes to recruiting. For whatever reason, they chose a troubled prospect with fleas.

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UPDATE #4:  The AD’s statement.

First Rule of Holes, dude.

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Everybody’s got questions.

I don’t think that those of you who believe Georgia should emulate Alabama more had this in mind:

… here are three teams from the SEC that have the most work to do between now and the end of spring practice:

Alabama: Alabama is near the top of many preseason top 25 polls for two primary reasons: talent and coaching. The fact that Nick Saban is among the best coaches in college football is undebatable. The fact that he and his staff sign the best high school prospects is unquestioned. But while those things are extremely valuable, they’re far from the entire equation. No, the bell cow of the SEC faces more than its fair share of questions this spring. No one knows who the starting quarterback will be. Derrick Henry is enormous and quite talented, but he’s never had to be a feature back before. Absent Amari Cooper, it’s hard to say what the receiving corps will look like. And that’s just the offense, never mind a defense that’s struggling to find its identity after ending last season on a poor note. The secondary is one giant mystery without Landon Collins and the linebackers are without their leader in veteran Trey DePriest. In all, 13 starters must be replaced. To get back to the national championship, it’s going to take a new cast of characters and likely a new identity, one that must be forged early in the offseason so it has time to take root.

There is a certain ring of familiarity there, eh?

Don’t cry for Nick Saban, SEC fans.  Somehow, I expect he’ll muddle through.

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You gotta spend money to make money.

Maybe this will make the folks at Butts-Mehre a little calmer about dishing out the money lately:

For Alabama’s athletics department, both expenses and revenues continue to grow. As a result, the school again finished with a surplus in the 2013-14 financial report submitted to the NCAA in January.

According to the documents obtained by AL.com, Alabama’s athletics department made 33,050,145 more than it spent in 2013-13. That’s an increase from the $27.2 it made in 2012-13 and continues the trend of surpluses in recent years. It hasn’t operated at a loss in the last 10 years, according to documents obtained through the public records requests.

And don’t think this tidbit won’t catch a few eyes.

The athletics department transferred $9.1 million back to the university last year after contributing $5.9 million a year earlier.

Yada, yada, yada, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

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Nick Saban’s got his standards, y’all.

“Tyren Jones has been suspended indefinitely for conduct not to the standard of the Alabama football program,” head coach Nick Saban said in a statement through Alabama media relations.

“Conduct not to the standard of the Alabama football program” – my Gawd, if Jonathan Taylor meets that standard, what in the hell did Jones do?

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