Alabama football coach Nick Saban alleges that Texas A&M bought all their players through name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.
Jackson State University (JSU) and its coach Deion Sanders are fighting back against his allegations, calling Saban’s claims a “lie.”
The University of Alabama’s (UA) football coach Saban is accusing Texas A&M and JSU of buying their athletes through NIL deals and paying a recruit seven figures to sign a National Letter of Intent, respectively.
During an interview with AL.com, Saban said Texas A&M is an example of what’s wrong with NIL. He accused the Aggies of buying their recruits through NIL deals and setting off an offseason feud for years to come.
“It’s going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said. “You’ve read about them. You know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. [Texas] A&M was first.”
Saban then said that A&M bought all of their players compared to UA, which has not.
“A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn’t buy one player. But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it.”
Saban said that Jackson State paid one of their recruits a million dollars to play for their team during the 7-minute clip. He expressed that the school bragged about it, yet no one did anything about it.
“Jackson State paid a guy $1 million last year who was a really good Division I player to come to their school,” Saban said. “It was in the paper and they bragged about it. No one did anything about it.”
Nick Saban claims Jackson State paid a player one million dollars to come and play for Deion Sanders and bragged about it. Any idea who this player is? Serious question 😂 pic.twitter.com/ibUBvuW6ET
— Jeff Lightsy Jr. (@jlightsy7) May 19, 2022
Saban was likely referring to former Florida State commit Travis Hunter Jr. In December’s Early Signing Period, the top prospect in the 2022 recruiting class surprised the sport by choosing Jackson State over the Seminoles.
Sanders fired back on Twitter shortly after the allegations appeared, teasing a longer response on Thursday.
In the tweet, Sanders said that his son, Shedeur Sanders, sent him an article about Saban’s accusations and that they don’t have to pay their athletes.
You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) May 19, 2022
“You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow,” Sanders said. “I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.”
Hunter Jr. also responded to the claims of being paid a million dollars to play for Jackson State. He took to Twitter, insinuating that his mother would not still live in a three-bedroom house with five children if he had received seven figures.
“I got A mil?” Hunter Jr. said. “But my mom still stay in a 3 bed room house with five kids.”
I got A mil?😂But my mom still stay in a 3 bed room house with five kids 🤣
— Travis Hunter (@TravisHunterJr) May 19, 2022
The Texas A&M Aggies head coach, Jimbo Fisher, responded with insults, defenses and return accusations.
Fisher held a press conference calling Saban a “narcissist” and his accusations untrue and despicable on Thursday.
“It’s despicable that someone can say something about someone and more importantly 17-year-old kids, taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families, that they broke state laws, that we bought every player in this group,” Fisher said. “We didn’t buy anybody.”
Fisher said that it is despicable that a head coach would come out with these accusations.
“It’s despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way,” Fisher said. “The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen. It’s ridiculous when he’s not on top.”
During his press conference, Fisher implied that Saban had run unethical programs for decades and had seemingly violated NCAA rules en route to winning seven national championships.
“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher said. “Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out … a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anybody’s that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It’s despicable.”
In what has already turned into an explosive back-and-forth between the Alabama head and Texas A&M head coach Fisher and Jackson State head coach Prime, Saban was the first to apologize late Thursday afternoon.
Nick Saban on ESPNU Radio: “I should have never really singled anybody out. That was a mistake and I really apologize for that part of it.”
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 19, 2022
“I should have never really singled anybody out,” Saban said during an appearance on ESPNU Radio. “That was a mistake and I really apologize for that part of it.”
“I really didn’t mean to single anybody out. I apologize for that,” He continued. “But it’s the whole system—is this a sustainable system and is this good for college football?”
Saban said he reached out to Fisher and Sanders, who were both on his LSU staff, but they declined to respond.” I never received a response. It makes me feel horrible.”
He then emphasized his concern about the present culture of NIL deals in collegiate sports, saying that “collectives are the issue,” noting that he wasn’t suggesting Texas A&M or Jackson State were doing anything unlawful.