TEXAS – The Spring Meetings of the Southeast Conference will be held in person for the first time since 2019 in just under two weeks.
It is unlikely that the two league superstars coaches will speak in Destin, Florida, together.
Texas A&M coach Jimba Fisher called Nick Sabana a “narcissist” on Thursday after an Alabama coach accused rival Aggie of using deals by name, image and similarity to create his top-ranked classes. A few hours later, Saban apologized, but generally adhered to his position, and shortly thereafter, SEC Commissioner Greg Senkey issued a public reprimand for both.
So much for the quiet off-season.
The public debate is perhaps the most disgusting manifestation of growing anxiety among college coaches struggling with two big changes: the NIL compensation era, which began last July, and its impact on recruitment, and the ease with which players can now move. Both have upset the landscape to which veteran coaches are accustomed, leading to complaints and now scathing accusations.
Less than 24 hours after Saban said Texas A&M was essentially “buying” players, Fisher called impromptu press conference to explode the college’s most experienced football coach and his former boss at LSU.
“It’s disgusting that a reputable head coach can come out and say that if he doesn’t succeed or it doesn’t,” Fisher said at College Station, Texas. “Narcissus in it does not allow such things to happen – it’s funny – if he is not on top. And the parity in student football he was talking about? Talk to the coaches who coached him. You will learn all the parities. Go dig wherever he is. “
Texas A&M had a consensus клас 1 recruiting class in the country for 2022 after winning Alabama in the regular season. In “Tide” class was № 2. In a session with reporters, which lasted about 10 minutes, Fisher said: “We have never bought anyone, the rules are not violated. Nothing was done wrong. “
Saban said he had approached Fischer, but “never received a response.” He apologized for nominating someone, but supported the essence of his message that the teams that support the booster are helping to recruit players.
“It simply came to our notice then. But I do not change my philosophy, ”Saban said on SiriusXM radio. “I’m looking at improving student football. What’s good for the game? ”
Asked if he wanted to consider the conflict with Fisher at future SEC meetings, Saban said he hoped to work on large-scale issues.
“I really didn’t say anyone did anything illegal in the use of name, image and likeness,” Saban said. “I didn’t say that. It was what was assumed from what I said, not what I meant. And not what I said. There is nothing illegal in this. This is the system that allows you to do it. And that’s my problem. “
Senki issued a “public reprimand” for both coaches, but acknowledged that there was “colossal disappointment” due to a lack of consistency in NIL rules across states.
“Membership in the Southeast Conference has set expectations of behavior and athleticism that were not met last night or today.” Shadows said.
Crimson Tide lost to Aggies in 2021, but won the SEC Championship and played for the national title. In their fourth season, the Egi ran 8-4 under Fisher, who, like Saban, is one of the highest paid coaches in the game with more than $ 9 million per season.
Saban, who has won six national championships and is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, called the current state of affairs unstable. At an event in Birmingham, Alabama earlier this week, he said some schools spend “tons of money to get players.”
“Last year we were second in the set. A&M was the first. A&M bought every player on its team. Agreed on name, image and similarities. We didn’t buy a single player, ”Saban said on Wednesday night.
In the early 2000s, Fischer was an assistant to Saban at LSU, working as a coordinator of offensive action in the 2003 Champions League. Now this relationship seems to be badly damaged.
“We’re done,” Fisher said. “He showed you who he is. He’s the biggest ever, right? If you get all the benefits, it’s easy. “
He said Saban’s comments were offensive to Texas A&M and the families of the players who signed with Aggies.
Texas A&M will play in Alabama on October 8, but Fisher and Saban won’t have to wait that long to intersect with SEC meetings.
“I am not cheating. I’m not lying. If you did, my old man would hit me in the face. Maybe someone should have slapped him (Saban), ”Fisher said.
The 56-year-old Fisher won the 2013 National Championship as head coach of Florida before winning a 10-year, $ 75 million contract to leave Tallahassee at the Texas A&M in 2017. Fisher was hired to transfer the title to a program that has not won a national championship since 1939, despite deep pockets, resources and access to talent.
Aggies sporting director Ross Bjork supported the defense of Fisher’s program and said he thought some competitors might feel threatened that A&M is finally starting to act to reach its potential.
“So why are we a target, is it a threat to the university football power system? SEC? Texas? ” He asked. “I don’t know. You need to ask everyone else why they talk so much about A&M. ”
The NCAA repealed most of its rules prohibiting athletes from making money from sponsorship and referral deals last July, but many sports colleges have concerns that NIL deals are used as incentives to hire and de facto pay for the game. Last week, the NCAA released recommendations to Division I members to clarify the rules against allowing boosters to participate in recruitment.
This year, Fisher spoke for the second time with an ardent public defense of his program. In February, he went on to rivals who spread rumors that Texas A&M had spent $ 30 million on NIL deals to secure one of the highest recruiting classes in history.
The 70-year-old Saban didn’t just stop at Texas A&M during his engagement on Wednesday night. He also mentioned Jackson and Miami in his critique of NIL.
Jackson state coach Dayon Sanders, a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame, has appointed one of the nation’s best recruits to corner defender Travis Hunter, who was loyal to Florida before the December coup.
Sanders denies that Hunter was getting any inadmissible deals before signing, and told Andscape.com that he would like to have a public conversation with Saban about the charges.
“I still love him. I admire them. I respect him. He is honored in student football, and that’s what he will be because he deserved it, ”Sanders said. “But he went left when he had to stay right. I’m sure he’ll get back on course. I don’t stumble.”
As for Fisher, he said he is looking forward to meeting Destin.
“I am not against confrontation. I have lived with it all my life, ”Fisher said. “I kind of like it. It’s not the way I was brought up.