Deion Sanders Says Nick Saban Lied About Travis Hunter Jr.'s NIL Guarantees at JSU

Doric SamMay 19, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 04: Deion Sanders speaks on stage during the 2022 International Poverty Forum at Porsche Cars North America on March 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Derek White/Getty Images)
Derek White/Getty Images

Jackson State football head coach Deion Sanders heard the accusations from Alabama head coach Nick Saban on Wednesday, and he's firing back.

Saban alleged that Jackson State paid a player $1 million to commit to the program, and Sanders dismissed the notion as untrue. He also revealed that the player Saban was referring to was cornerback Travis Hunter Jr., who is ranked as the No. 1 overall player in the 2022 class by 247Sports' composite.

COACH PRIME @DeionSanders

You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. I was &amp; awakened by my son <a href="https://twitter.com/ShedeurSanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShedeurSanders</a> that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED <a href="https://twitter.com/TravisHunterJr?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TravisHunterJr</a> a Million to play at <a href="https://twitter.com/GoJSUTigersFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GoJSUTigersFB</a> ! We as a PEOPLE donโ€™t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.

"Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school," Saban said. "It was in the paper. They bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it."

It's not the first time that Sanders has faced allegations of using a monetary incentive to land the top player in the country. Upon Hunter's commitment to Jackson State, it was rumored that he had a $1 million deal with Barstool Sports. Sanders denied those rumors and attributed them to jealousy.

"That's the biggest lie I've ever heard," Sanders said on a TV appearance with ESPN. "You know what that is? That means we kicked you butt, we took what was ours, and now you've got to make up an excuse why."

Saban has been outspoken about his concerns surrounding NIL deals for collegiate athletes. He revealed that 25 Alabama players combined to make a total of $3 million last season, but he still expressed apprehension with the model going forward.

"The issue and the problem with name, image and likeness, is coaches trying to create an advantage for themselves by going out and saying, 'Ok, how can we use this to our advantage?'" Saban said, going on to insinuate that a coach can be involved in paying recruits under the table.

Hunter's only known NIL deal is with a Black-owned, Mississippi-based coffee company called J5 Caffe.