Ever the enigma, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin tweeted out an article from Fox News about Nick Saban denying multiple Alabama football recruits who requested a total of $1.6 million in NIL earnings.
Alabama’s Nick Saban rejected 2 players who were searching for $1.3 million combined in NIL money: report | Fox News https://t.co/dHqKlzrN5R
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) January 29, 2023
It wasn’t clear if Kiffin was endorsing Saban for not giving into exorbitant financial demands from high school athletes in their Crimson Tide recruitments or if he was continuing a trend of trolling opposing SEC West programs.
Kiffin, once Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2014-2016, had the most interactions on Twitter of any college football coach in 2022 by a large margin — and Saban is often the target of his trolling.
Nick Saban Passed On 2 Alabama Football Recruits for NIL Demands
Lane Kiffin shenanigans aside, the meat of this story is that Nick Saban is now speaking to Alabama football recruiting targets who are making salary demands. Steve Normand, head football coach at Baker High School in Mobile, claimed on the OutKick 360 morning show on January 28 that Saban told him a story that encapsulates the current NCAA recruiting model in a nutshell.
“Someone with one of the best corners in the nation (in high school) came to me and asked if we’d pay them $800,000 for the player to sign here. I told him he can find another place to play,” Saban said to Normand. “I’m not paying a kid a bunch of NIL money before he earns it.”
Alabama Football Coaches Association president Terry Curtis added another notable sound bite from Saban that gave more financial demands being thrown around. “We lost 10 players and one starter to the portal this year,” Curtis shared. “One of them wanted $500,000 and for us to get his girlfriend into law school at Alabama and pay for it. I showed him the door.”
Nick Saban Once Lobbied Against Current NIL System
Nick Saban was against how things currently are in the NIL system from the very beginning. Back on August 24, he talked about the pitfalls of paying players through alumni collectives in a joint interview with Deion Sanders.
“I think a couple of things are of concern,” Saban said. “We allow alumni through collectives to get involved in recruiting and other things. That’s always something we’ve always guarded against in college football. I think what kind of competitive balance are we able to create if we allow that to happen, which is not going to be great for fans.”
Saban sounded interested in using the NFL as a model of how the NCAA should operate with NIL and recruiting in general. “The best competitive balance you can have is like in the NFL,” Saban said. “They have rules to create competitive balance. Whether it’s salary cap, difficulty of schedule, where you draft, where you pick relative to your won-loss record. Those things are important I think in the interest of creating a lot of good matchups on a national basis.”