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BIRMINGHAM — Alabama football coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that Texas A&M "bought every player on their team," referring to name, image and likeness deals for the top-ranked 2022 recruiting class.
Saban and Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats spoke at an event promoting the World Games 2022 Birmingham at The Fennec. The World Games begin July 7 at venues in and around the city.
Saban said Alabama didn't offer NIL deals to its recruits.
"We were second in recruiting last year," he said. "A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn’t buy one player. But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it."
Saban on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL)
“The team made $3 million off of NIL last season between 25 different players.”
“The more supporters we have for UA in all sports, the better for our program. The thing I fear is we’ll have to eventually just start paying the players.” pic.twitter.com/Dsavek99Ix
— Brett Greenberg (@74Talk) May 19, 2022
Saban, who has been vocal about NIL in college athletics, also said 25 players on Alabama's roster last season earned NIL revenue totaling $3 million and did it "the right way."
"Our guys earned it and no one in our locker room had a problem with that," said Saban.
Saban also accused Jackson State of paying a football player a million dollars to attend the school during the speech.
"Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school," Saban said. "It was in the paper. They bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it."
Saban did not specify a player.
Rumors of a multimillion dollar NIL deal between top prospect Travis Hunter and Barstool Sports began to surface shortly after Hunter committed.
Jackson State coach Deion Sanders later took to Twitter and said Saban's comments were a "lie" and that he plans to address them on Thursday.
You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow. I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB ! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) May 19, 2022
Saban went on to talk about how NIL is a great concept to allow players to profit, but emphasized concerns about deals being brokered by coaches or boosters.
"Players have always been allowed to work. It's just a different opportunity for them to make money by working," said Saban. "There is nothing wrong with that, and I told my players to get agents, get representation and create opportunities for yourself."
Saban also talked about collectives — entities created to offer or coordinate NIL deals with athletes for specific schools to support those programs. High Tide Traditions, which has no official affiliation with the University of Alabama, was created last month to "create championship level partnerships between business and student-athletes."
Saban said collectives open up the doors for NIL to be a recruiting tool.
"That's not what name, image and likeness was supposed to be — that's what is has become and that is the problem with college athletics right now," Saban said. "My job is to create a platform for our players to create value for themselves and their future by becoming better people, by graduating from school and developing a career on or off the field."
Saban also said former Alabama players have made $1.7 billion in the NFL since 2010.
Contributing: Khari Thompson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama's Nick Saban says Texas A&M, Jackson State bought recruits