Nick Saban Opens Up About NIL, College Football: “All the Things I’ve Believed in No Longer Exist in College Athletics”

    Nick Saban spoke candidly about the current state of college athletics, indicating a particular reason why he may have stepped away when he did.

    In a candid exchange on Capital Hill, former Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban opened up about the current state of affairs in college football. Speaking at Senator Ted Cruz’s NIL Roundtable, Saban was asked a variety of questions and several moments stood out around his retirement, the reasoning behind it, and how he currently views college athletics.

    Miss Terry Prompts Nick Saban: “Why Are We Doing This?”

    Saban answered the onslaught of questions openly and fairly, sticking true to his stance on the ever-changing nature of college football. Making its way around the nation as the biggest takeaway, however, is the fact that Saban clearly indicated that the current nature of the sport is arguably the biggest reason he retired when he did.

    “All the things that I’ve believed in for all these years, fifty years of coaching, no longer exist in college athletics,” Saban said. “It was always about developing players, it was always about helping people be more successful in life.”

    MORE: Did Alabama’s Actions in the College Football Playoffs Contribute to Nick Saban’s Retirement?

    Saban continued by indicating that his wife — Miss Terry, as she’s affectionately referred to — made the poignant ask to him just before he retired.

    “My wife even said to me, we 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 impact their sons and how they’d be well taken care of,” Saban said. “And she came to me, you know, right before I retired and said, ‘Why are we doing this?'”

    He continued the story from Miss Terry with perhaps the biggest draw

    “I said, ‘What do you mean,'” Saban continued. “‘All they (the recruits) care about is how you are 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?'”

    Saban also went in-depth on the fact that he was concerned with more than just the state of the on-field product of college football, it was the off-field care for the student-athletes that he stood for all these years that he was concerned with.

    “Some of the goals and objectives of what we’ve worked so hard for the last 20 years, to improve graduation rate, to improve healthcare for players, to have mental healthcare for players,” Saban said. “All the things that we’ve worked so hard to improve on, we’re going to start to see slide in the wrong direction because we created an environment that does not promote personal development or success for their future.”

    Saban was clearly critical of the current nature of college athletics, specifically college football. While the transfer portal has certainly shown it can help athletes and NIL deals have largely been seen in good faith, it’s no shocker that college athletics have changed forever.

    Where the sport goes from here, however, was seen as most concerning for Saban.

    Watch the full appearance from Saban below.

    If you’ve missed anything around our coverage of EA Sports College Football 25, be sure to check out our list of announcers, list of teams to be featured, platforms the game will be on, and much more.


    1. Nick Saban NIL is suppose to help the players help their mothers and families pay the bills so the players won’t leave early to go to the N.F.L. but with Nick Saban now retired the Alabama Crimson Tide won’t be the same team

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