Texas A&M Asked SEC to Suspend or Fine Alabama's Nick Saban over NIL Comments

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2022

Alabama head coach Nick Saban coaches during the first half of Alabama's A-Day NCAA college football scrimmage, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

Officials from Texas A&M wrote to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey asking the conference to punish Alabama head coach Nick Saban for his comments about how the Aggies "bought every player on their team."

On3's Andy Wittry shared a portion of a letter by A&M President M. Katherine Banks and athletic director Ross Bjork:

"We write to express Texas A&M University's disappointment and outrage at the recent statements made by Alabama University [sic] Head Football Coach Nick Saban that 'A&M bought every player on their team-made a deal for Name, Image, Likeness.'
"Coach Saban's statement was a blatant violation of SEC bylaws regarding sportsmanship. More significantly, without citing any facts to support his statement, Coach Saban is accusing every, single player in Texas A&M's recruiting class and current football team of violating NCAA NIL guidelines and Texas state law."

Banks and Bjork said the SEC should "consider monetary and participation penalties against Coach Saban."

There typically isn't much to talk about in college football during the summer months. Spring practice is over and everybody is gearing up for the season ahead.

Saban changed that when he—intended or not—took a shot at Texas A&M after Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff assembled a potentially historic 2022 recruiting class.

Saban almost assuredly isn't alone in believing NIL deals, despite the fact they can't be offered as direct inducements for a player to sign, played a role in A&M's success on the recruiting trail.

Fisher didn't take the remarks lying down. He quickly arranged a press conference to respond and didn't hold his opinions about Saban back. At one point, Fisher told reporters to "go dig into his past" to learn more about his conference rival.

ESPN @espn

"Some people think they’re God … We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anyone who’s ever coached with him, you can find out anything you wanna find out."<br><br>Jimbo Fisher didn't hold back after Nick Saban's comments about A&amp;M's recruiting practices. <a href="https://t.co/FVNaGD6uBX">pic.twitter.com/FVNaGD6uBX</a>

The SEC publicly reprimanded Fisher and Saban, while the latter apologized for his comments about Texas A&M.

While the conference's desire to rein the two in is understandable, some bad blood between coaches isn't necessarily a bad thing. The back and forth between Fisher and Saban was a bit reminiscent of the intense rivalry between Steve Spurrier and Phillip Fulmer.

The Oct. 8 meeting between Alabama and Texas A&M was already a highly anticipated clash, and now it's must-watch television as the Crimson Tide look to avenge their upset last year.