Saban: Alabama Football Players Made $3M From NIL Deals

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Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said Tuesday that his players have done quite well for themselves under the NCAA's new NIL rules. 

Speaking at the SEC's 2022 Media Days, Saban said that Alabama players did "better than anybody in the country last year," claiming they raked in close to $3 million from new NIL deals. 

“Well, I don’t dislike name, image and likeness. I’m all for the players. I want the players to do well. Our players did extremely well last year. They made over $3 million in name, image and likeness, so I’m all for the players doing as well as they can and using their name, image and likeness to create value for themselves,” Saban said during comments to reporters at the event. 

Saban's comments come in the wake of controversy he started back in May, when he accused Texas A&M of buying every player on their roster. While he's happy for how his players have taken advantage of new NIL opportunities, he also echoed recent comments from A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher that NIL rules need to be the same for everyone. 

“We have a great brand at Alabama so our players, their value is going to be enhanced because of the value that our brand can help them create. But you know, the thing that I’ve sort of expressed, not concerns about, but there’s gotta be some uniformity in protocol of how NIL is implemented,” Saban said.

“I think there’s probably a couple of factors that are important: how does this impact competitive balance in college athletics? Is there transparency to maintain fairness across the board in terms of college athletics? And how do we protect the players because there’s more and more people that are trying to get between money and the player? … The biggest concern is how does this impact and affect recruiting because on the recruiting trail there’s a lot of people using this as inducements to go to their school by making promises that they may or may not be able to keep. That is what can create a competitive balance issue between the haves and have nots.”

Saban admitted that Alabama has ample resources, but he said he's worried about smaller programs. 

“But everybody in college football cannot do things relative to how they raise money in a collective or whatever and how they distribute money to players,” he said. “So those are the concerns that I have in terms of how do we place guidelines around this so that we can maintain a competitive balance.

“There’s no competitive sport anywhere that doesn’t have guidelines on how they maintain some kind of competitive balance. And I think that’s important to college football. “

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