Nick Saban meeting with Congress over NIL system today

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) in action against University of Louisiana Monroe at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Sep 17, 2022.

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton

TUSCALOOSA-University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has walked a tight rope since the rapid birth of name, image and likeness earnings for collegiate athletes. His early preliminary stance of “Is this what we really want?” was echoed again last week at SEC conferences in Destin, Florida.

A highly branded program like Alabama has benefited off the new era of collegiate athletics, and NIL has made them a more dangerous recruiting machine with the ability to reward players financially for their talent.

The entire SEC is benefiting from the results, which ultimately is creating an accelerated void in competitiveness across the country.

Competitive balance has been the No. 1 concern for Saban. If it benefits Alabama and the SEC above everyone else, why should he care?

Without regulation, the nature of collegiate football could be in danger. A powerful and uneven playing field across the country can get out of hand quickly.

What’s driving that aggression? Just like everything else in this country, it all comes down to money.

Each state has different laws overseeing collegiate sports. The 11 states residing within the SEC have gotten a leg up with their laws written for the intent to give their programs an advantage.

That’s why Saban is traveling to Washington, D.C., today with other SEC coaches and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey: to find the root of this concern.

The aspect of NIL compensation needs soundness, and it needs to tie into a balanced landscape of competition across the realm of college football.

“We want to provide information based on our experience, so that maybe people that are involved in the House and Senate both sort of have an idea of what the issues really are and how it can impact and affect college football in the future,” Saban told the Associated Press.

Possible remedies suggested by Saban last week in Destin include creating a union of players in the college football spectrum. By viewing players as employees, there might be a better chance of income stabilization.

At the end of the day, it’s about players’ compensation and their newfound ability to provide for themselves and others. Paying collegiate athletes should be allowed long ago, but the unexpected clash of programs’ balance is now an antagonist for lawmakers.

“I think we’re all for players,” Saban said. “I think we’re all, you know, want players to have the opportunity to be able to earn things. I think how does it impact competitive balance based on, you know the guard rails that we have?”

It’s a step in the right direction for the SEC to lead the charge for evolution. If representatives of the league decided to sit back and let things pan out, we would see developments of super conferences that we’ve already seen glimpses of within the past calendar year.

Don’t get it twisted. Saban isn’t stepping in because he wants full control of his players back. Alabama can pay potential transfers more money than any other team. It would be the dictator of every bidding war for NIL earnings.

But is college football still about football? It’s not about the lessons and growth learned. If NIL deals continue this way, everything college football once was could be lost.

“I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I think we can get more people aware of what the issues are for them to have input on how we can sort of create a model that would help create some competitive balance but still give people opportunities to use their name, image and likeness to earn, I think will be a good thing,” Saban said.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports