Alabama head coach Nick Saban opened up college football's can of worms during an event this week, when he ranted about the game's implementation of name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals with athletes and accused SEC rival Texas A&M of purchasing every player in its top-ranked 2022 recruiting class. According to 247 Sports, the Aggies landed an FBS-high eight five-star 2022 recruits, and each player is currently listed as a top-25 player in the class.
Less than 24 hours after Saban aired his grievances, Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher addressed the comments in a press conference, defending his recruiting practices and calling Saban's remarks "despicable." Hours after the situation reached its boiling point, Saban publicly apologized for singling out the Aggies, and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey reprimanded both coaches. Alabama and Texas A&M are scheduled to play each other in early October.
"It's odd, because I feel like it's a rare misstep for him. He always talks about 'rat poison,' which is the stuff outside of football that takes eyes off the ball," Saban biographer Monte Burke told the Maggie and Perloff show on Friday. "He's kind of created it himself here. I think he misspoke, a little bit -- I don't think he really meant to say that Jimbo was buying players in the old bagman way. But still, Saban rarely misspeaks. He's always calculated.
"He usually uses pressers and public speaking gigs to address an audience if he thinks it needs to hear something. Whether it's a recruiting class, his team, university big wigs, or sometimes it's donors. And I agree with Deion Sanders, that his intention was to kind of get his donors going... I talked to 263 people for the book... Of course, there's rumors that go around [about Saban's past]. But, nothing I could substantiate. And I talked to some people who just can't stand the guy. And nothing I could ever substantiate..."
The entire Saban conversation between Burke and Maggie and Perloff can be accessed in the audio player above.