Saban and Fisher have a mud fight

Alabama / Munich – Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, triggered a shake-up in college football on Wednesday. At a news conference, he said that Texas A&M University has put together the best recruiting class for the upcoming season because it “bought all the players”.

Aggie’s head coach Jimbo Fisher was quick to respond. In a nearly ten-minute speech, he repeatedly called Saban’s claims “contemptible” and the coach himself “narcissist”. “It can not be that a coach says something like that just because something does not fit his thing. He behaves ridiculously when he is not on top,” Fisher added.

His school secured five five-star prospects from ESPN300, a list of the highest potential players. A total of 20 new players at Texas A&M end up among the top 150 in the country on this rankings. According to Saban, this has only been possible because the colleges are now able to lure players with money.

The NCAA allows player payments

The key word is “NIL” – name, image, similarity. This entitles players to receive financial compensation for the use of their name, similarity and popularity. Colleges, like the players themselves, are allowed to market themselves with it, be it through autographs, postings on social media and other opportunities.

However, the NCAA retains status as an amateur sport, so colleges are not allowed to pay their players a salary. Nevertheless, due to “NIL” there are now some options to pay players around the official statutes. This opens new doors, especially for larger colleges with more financial resources.

The current recruiting class for next season is the first where “NIL” came into play.

Fisher: “Some believe they are God”

Saban was not able to prove his claims, but that did not stop him from adding firewood to the fire. About his recruiting class – which according to “ESPN” is in second place – he could not resist the comment: “We did not buy a single player, understood?”

Fisher called it a shame that he had to convene a press conference to comment on the allegations and “defend 17-year-olds and their families and the college itself.” “We never bought anyone. No rules were broken. Nothing was done wrong.”

Instead, he turned his focus back to his former teacher, under whom he served as offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000 to 2004: “Some people think they are God. But dig deeper into how God made his appointments. You will find out something, some things they would not know. What he is doing and what he has done. It is reprehensible. ” Fisher never mentioned Saban’s name, but his response clearly referred to the Alabama coach’s comments.

Earthquake in the NCAA

Such a public verbal attack did not often occur in college football, especially from two highly decorated coaches. The fact that both teams play in the same conference and division only makes the matter more explosive. Especially since Alabama lost last year to the Texans, who finished the season with only 8-4.

A former assistant to the six-time champion with Alabama told ESPN that Saban crossed a line with his statements. Still, he and other NCAA coaches were surprised by Fisher’s reaction. He pointed out that Saban never called Texas A&M a scammer.

The 70-year-old later apologized for explicitly mentioning Texas A&M and Jackson State, where Deion Sanders coaches, but his opinion of “NIL” remains the same. He’s probably not all alone there. According to reports, several coaches have already expressed concern about the lack of rules and fear a situation as in the “Wild West”.

Long awaited rematch in October

How Saban himself will relate to the subject in the future, however, he formulated with a question mark: “I really do not want to go this way, which creates a bidding war for the boys from high school. But if we lose all these players because they have hundreds of thousands of other players somewhere else. If you have dollars, what can you do? “

There will certainly not be a warm reunion between Alabama and Texas in October. Fisher did not appear to want an apology. He told CBS Sports that he got a call from Saban but did not answer. Instead, he clarified, “I’m done with him. He showed you who he really is.”

The tone for the upcoming season is set, the echo is heard at least until the fall.

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