PoliticsTuesday 03.12.24

Nick Saban indicates he retired over NIL deals: All the things I believed in "no longer exist in college athletics."

Former Alabama football head coach Nick Saban indicated on Tuesday that he retired because of name, image and likeness (NIL) deals in college sports.

“All the things that I believed in for all these years — 50 years of coaching — no longer exist in college athletics,” Saban said at a Senate roundtable on NIL deals led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “It was always about helping people be more successful in life.”

The coach lamented that the focus on money and branding has overshadowed the development and well-being of young players. 

“My wife even said to me — we'd have all the recruits over on Sunday with their parents for breakfast and she would always meet with the mothers and talk about how she was going to help and impact their sons and how they would be well taken care of. 

“She came to me — like right before I retired and said, ‘Why are we doing this?’” Saban continued. “She said, ‘All they care about is how much you're going to pay them. They don't care about how you're going to develop them, which is what we've always done. So why are we doing this?’

“We really are creating a circumstance here that is not beneficial to the development of young people, which is why I always did what I did,” Saban said. “I want their quality of life to be good.”

Saban acknowledged that name, image, and likeness deals were a good opportunity for student athletes, but emphasized the importance of creating a system that prioritizes their quality of life.

“I'm not against that at all, but to come up with some kind of a system that still can help the development of young people I think is paramount to the future of college athletics.”

Recount Wire