Nick Saban thinks a lack of commitment could be a problem in modern college football.
Players have never had more freedom of movement than they do currently. They’ve also never had more money. The transfer portal and NIL has allowed players to up and leave if they don’t like the situation they’re in and, and it sounds like Saban has a bit of a problem with that setup.
Specifically, Saban is curious how athletes can reap such rich rewards without being locked into contracts.
Nick Saban sounds off on lack of commitment.
The legendary Alabama coach told Joel Klatt the following when talking about player movement and what he feels might be a lack of commitment from some:
I think you have to create a balance between how much do you take and how much do you give. You know, we’re giving people scholarships. We’re creating NIL opportunities, but what is their commitment? There’s no place in the world where you don’t have a contract…if you’re going to receive benefits, you have a contract and an obligation to do a certain job. So, when you opt out, transfer, do whatever you want whenever you want, I’m not sure the balance is quite right. I know there’s a lot of people out there a lot more qualified than me trying to figure out how do we fix this, but I think we do need to create some balance. Because I think at the end of the day when you create an atmosphere where someone is tentatively committed to what they’re trying to accomplish, you have to evaluate whether or not that’s really a good thing because we all need to be totally committed to whatever or goals or aspirations are, the sense of purpose we have if we’re going to have a chance to be successful.
When asked if Saban should be allowed to organize, the seven-time national champion didn’t rule it out but noted there are many people who “are a little skeptical” of making athletes employees.
The Crimson Tide coach has also previously said he supported having a union for players.
Does Saban have some good points?
Nick Saban’s comments aren’t that different from what Mike Gundy recently said when he was expressing some frustrations with NIL.
“I can’t deal with a line outside my office of people coming in here negotiating for money. I can’t do that. I have not once said, ‘OK, what is somebody offering you? We’ll match that.’ Not one time. I’m not gonna do it. I can’t win that battle, and I don’t even know if it’s true,” Gundy recently said during a profile in The Athletic.
It’s not the exact same, but it’s in the same spirit as what Saban is talking about. Is this college sports or is this the pros? Because as Deion Sanders said, a lot of people want big time money but not big time responsibility and expectations. That’s not how life works. You can’t have one without the other.
If you’re going to get paid piles of cash, you should hold up your end of the bargain.
Players are in a great position.
On the other hand, college athletes had very few options for decades and decades. They got what the NCAA allowed and nothing else. That wasn’t much.
Now, athletes can finally cash in. Whether it’s a star QB or Olivia Dunne rolling around in NIL cash, college athletes have freedom of movement and can earn a living.
Anyone who supports capitalism should view that as a positive.
That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some enforcement mechanisms to keep things fair and above water. That seems to be Nick Saban’s main beef, and on that front, he could very well be correct.