Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher’s feud in the media, and debate if the NCAA will take any action on the allegations both coaches made publicly.
DAN WETZEL: So let's do this because this is a popular question. Now that-- all right, Nick Saban's got seven NCAA titles. Or college football titles, whatever. He's the most decorated coach of all time. His assistant just accused him of cheating for pretty much decades because he did work for him for two decades.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Could the NCAA do anything? And I know the answer to this. I'm just letting you--
PAT FORDE: Well--
DAN WETZEL: Will the NCAA actually investigate either side's claims? But let's start with Jimbo's against Nick Saban.
PAT FORDE: Well, the NCAA has to. They've got to try. I mean, I said in the column that by the time the column publishes, there should be a voice message for Jimbo from somebody in Indianapolis saying, can we set up a sit-down? Because you are just throwing some stuff out there that is pretty strong. And vise versa. You got to call Tuscaloosa, too, and say, Nick, we'd like to come down and sit down.
DAN WETZEL: They're going to clam up.
PAT FORDE: Well, of course they will. Because, again, mutually assured destruction. Nobody wants to be the person that goes on the record and says this is exactly what they paid for this player in this instance. I know, I was there. I was an assistant coach. Or whatever the case may be.
But sure the NCAA has got to try. I have zero confidence that they will get significant enough cooperation to make it work and that it would lead to anything, but you have to at least make the effort if you are the NCAA.
DAN WETZEL: Here's what I would say. Unless Jimbo wants to bring receipts, get specific, there's gonna be nothing on Saban. Because you don't even know what to do. They could go after A&M easier. I don't think they will, and I don't think even if they try they'll get far. But you can compel every member of that recruiting class to talk, and you can have access to their bank records.
PAT FORDE: Yep.
DAN WETZEL: But more importantly, the compelling to talk. Because if you do not talk to the NCAA, you can lose your eligibility. You've got 30 kids in that recruiting class. I would say all 30, but at least most, are going to say, I'll talk. I'm going to tell the truth. I'm not losing my college career to protect A&M when the NCAA says if you talk, you can go transfer wherever you want.
And so you sit there and say, hey, I'm going to tell you exactly what happened with my recruitment. And then I'll transfer to wherever the heck you want. I mean, these are great players. So I think there is--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: --a possibility. There is a road to do that. Whether they find anything, I don't know, OK? Because there's no proof of this. Can we all suspect? Sure. But what is it-- I mean, Saban's throwing stuff out there. Hey, I read something in the paper about what Coach-- I mean, glad Saban's reading the paper.
But it's not like, hey, man, I was recruiting this kid, and his dad said A&M's going to give me $250,000 or Jackson State's is going to give me this. OK, at least that-- that's still hearsay, but at least it's not like, yeah, man, they're just saying it. No, they're not really saying it in the paper. So the whole thing is like-- I just don't know. But there is a path to go after the Aggies. I just don't think they will. But at least there's a path.
I don't know what the path is against Alabama, except I guess you could do the same thing. We're going to talk to every-- and you better hope that all your recruits didn't talk to anybody or didn't get anything. But without any kind of allegation, it's just really, really hard. So I don't think anything's going to happen, but that would be my take on that.
PAT FORDE: Well, yeah, two things there. First of all, I mean, you have Jimbo Fisher-- to me, there is a path to Alabama because you have Jimbo Fisher alluding to violations or other misconduct or whatever ethical things may have happened. Well, OK, Jimbo, sit down and tell us. And then tell us who else on the staff knew about it. And you can go from there, and you can talk to those people.
They don't all have to cooperate. Jimbo does. Jimbo is compelled to sit down with them, and he's the one that opened that particular can of worms. So I think there is certainly a path to at least ask the questions of Jimbo about what happened with Nick Saban. Now it also would-- if it happened at LSU, it's way after the statute of limitations of NCAA violations.
DAN WETZEL: Right.
PAT FORDE: But still, if you want to throw some mud on the guy that just threw mud at you, you can. As for the A&M path, you're right, although I'm not sure everybody's going to tell the truth quite as readily as you perhaps inferred there. I mean--
DAN WETZEL: Well--
PAT FORDE: --how many times does anybody tell the truth when they sit down with the NCAA? Not that often.
DAN WETZEL: Jimbo Fisher tells the truth because his dad would slap him in the head.