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With the start of SEC Spring Meetings Tuesday, all of college football knew which topic would be the focal point.
The public spat between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was top of mind, with the world of college football waiting with bated breath for more fireworks.
Oct 12, 2019; College Station, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher shake hands at the conclusion of the gam at Kyle Field. (John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports)
The first question Saban took on Tuesday was on his accusation that Texas A&M “bought” its entire recruiting class with NIL money.
“I didn’t really say that anybody did anything wrong,” Saban said when asked about his past comments.
“I’ve said everything I’m going to say about this,” Saban continued. “I should have never mentioned any individual institutions, and I’ve said that before. Some kind of uniform Name, Image, and Likeness standard that supports some kind of equitable, national competition, I think is really, really important in college athletics. And college football.”
Saban also said that he’s all for “players making as much as they can make,” but called for a more transparent way of going about NIL.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies reacts after a loss against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
“I have no problem with Jimbo,” Saban later added. “I have no problem with Jimbo at all.”
The war of words started on May 18 when Saban discussed the new era of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) at a conference in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said, via AL.com. “You read about it, you know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches during the second half of the College Football Playoff championship football game against Georgia Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
The following day, Fisher called an impromptu press conference, blasting Saban for his comments and saying that the Alabama head coach had attempted to call him, but Fisher refused to take the call.
“Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how God did His deal. You may find out about a guy, a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody who’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out what he does and how he does it,” Fisher said at the press conference.
Fisher denied any wrongdoing on Texas A&M’s part in getting the number one recruiting class in the country.