Alabama coach and record 7-time college football national champion Nick Saban isn’t against the idea of NIL, but he’s giving the world a warning that things could get out of hand very quickly.
“I don’t think what we’re doing right now [with NIL] is a sustainable model,” Saban said in remarks to the Associated Press.
“The concept of name, image, and likeness was for players to be able to use their name, image, and likeness to create opportunities for themselves. That’s what it was.
“But that creates a situation where you can basically buy players. You can do it in recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know. And you can also get players to get in the transfer portal to see if they get more someplace else than they can get at your place.”
Saban’s comments come not long after his Alabama football program signed the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation and signed several of the top 10 players in this offseason’s transfer portal marketplace.
And after Saban admitted last preseason that Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young had already secured nearly $1 million in NIL deals before taking a snap in the 2022 football season.
College football’s rich will get richer
Like most things in the sport, the new NIL rules will tend to favor the football programs that are already the richest and most successful.
Boosters at major programs can effectively lure recruits to their schools if they can promise that, by doing so, the players will have better access to a larger pool of potential NIL money.
Many states have laws in place to prevent the practice and forbid schools from using NIL as a recruiting device, but states have not tried to directly prevent it, either.
Saban will adapt
Wherever NIL rules go, Nick Saban says he’ll go with them.
“I know we have to adapt to that,” he said. “You’re going to have kids out there that say, ‘Well, I can get a better deal going someplace else,’ and they’ll go there.
“But you’re also going to have people that see the light and say, ‘Yeah, they’ve got a good history of developing players. They got a good history of developing people, they got a great graduation rate and that value is more important.
“And they’re distributing money to everybody in the organization.”
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