According to Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, only one of the 11 early enrollees in the Aggies’ top-rated 2022 recruiting class received an NIL deal. Just one.
Fisher, clearly still fuming from Alabama coach Nick Saban alleging that A&M “bought every player on their team” via NIL deals, sat down for an interview with KSAT in San Antonio on Friday. The station aired part of that interview on Sunday night. In it, Fisher again called out the “lies” he believes are being told about his program.
“I just researched this. Of the 11 guys we have in place that came early, one guy has an NIL deal. So all of these stories you’re hearing are complete lies,” Fisher said. “I went and checked with our compliance people because we have nothing to do with it.”
This whole saga started back in February when a message board post from a user named “SlicedBread” claimed that Texas A&M donors had spent “between $25 and $30 million” on NIL deals for recruits. A screenshot of that post made its way around social media and then was blogged about on BroBible.com.
The rumor went wild and made its way to Fisher, who called it “garbage,” “irresponsible” and “insulting,” among other adjectives, during his signing day news conference — despite the fact that it would not violate any rules if it was true.
Fast forward to last week and Saban made headlines of his own by singling out Texas A&M in a lengthy answer to an NIL question at an event with business leaders in Birmingham, Alabama. The next morning, Fisher went off on his former boss in a news conference, calling Saban a “narcissist” and saying his comments were “despicable.”
During his KSAT interview, Fisher circled back to “SlicedBread” and social media spreading what he says is totally false.
“Because it was written on social media everybody believed it. Nick, all the people obviously believed it,” Fisher said to KSAT reporter Greg Simmons. “I said this back in February when they said we had $30 million in a thing. That’s all false. It was written on social media so everybody believes it. And you got news channels believing it. You believed it. Do you guys not research? You just assumed. That’s the way this world goes now. As soon as it’s written on social media and someone says it, you believe it. It’s because social media and media put it out. What’s the truth? Nobody wants the truth. You want a story and a click and a hit.”
Saban apologized for singling out Texas A&M, others
Fisher said he hadn’t heard the apology Saban issued in a radio interview last week and he has no plans to speak with Saban.
In his apology, Saban said he “should have never really singled anybody out.” Saban also referenced Jackson State and Miami basketball during his comments that caused this ruckus.
“That was a mistake and I really apologize for that part of it,” Saban said on SiriusXM Radio on Thursday afternoon.
Saban said his issue is more with the current system as a whole rather than what specific programs are doing.
“I’m not against name, image and likeness. Our players made a lot of money last year. I told our players to get an agent, get representation and make what you can make,” Saban said. “I think the issue in college athletics in general now is the whole system of collectives and people raising money to basically pay players to come, whether it’s to come to their school or pay the players that are on their team.”