According to On3’s Andy Wittry, Texas A&M officials asked the SEC to suspend or fine Alabama head coach Nick Saban after his comments pointed toward the Aggies’ football program and Jimbo Fisher after A&M signed the best recruiting class in the history of the sport this offseason.
If you don’t recall, Nick Saban made a claim a few weeks ago at an Alabama booster event that Texas A&M “bought every player on their team.”
The comments elicited quite the response from Jimbo Fisher, who went so far as to encourage people to dig into Saban’s past and find some of the dirt on the “czar of college football.”
Now, as the dust has settled a bit, it has come out that Texas A&M President M. Catherine Banks and Athletic Director Ross Bjork sent an email to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, which was obtained from a public records request by On3. In the email, the A&M officials expressed their displeasure with Saban’s comments and asked for repercussions.
“We write to express Texas A&M University’s disappointment and outrage at the recent statements made by Alabama University [sic] Head Football Coach Nick Saban that ‘A&M bought every player on their team-made a deal for Name, Image, Likeness,’” the email read.
“Coach Saban’s statement was a blatant violation of SEC bylaws regarding sportsmanship. More significantly, without citing any facts to support his statement, Coach Saban is accusing every, single player in Texas A&M’s recruiting class and current football team of violating NCAA NIL guidelines and Texas state law.
“Coach Saban’s statement is false, beneath the dignity of the SEC, and corrosive to the fabric of sportsmanship in college football as a whole and especially within the SEC. We expect the league to take strong, public action against Coach Saban and the University of Alabama to demonstrate that such unprofessionalism and disrespect for Texas A&M’s student-athletes, coaches, and the university as a whole, will not be tolerated. A public apology from Coach Saban to Coach Fisher, Aggie Football, and Texas A&M University is a good starting point, but the league should also consider monetary and participation penalties against Coach Saban.
“Thank you for your concern and prompt attention to this serious matter.”
Now, it just takes a bit of common sense to see that Name, Image, and Likeness heavily influenced the Aggies most recent recruiting class, which is the best that college football has ever seen. A&M had broken into the top five recruiting rankings just once in the last five seasons, and was all the way back at 17th in 2018. On the other hand, you would have to go back to 2007 to find a recruiting class at Alabama that didn’t crack the top five.
A&M clearly benefitted from the NIL, there’s no doubt, but Saban’s comments do feel a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. After all, the Aggies logo literally says “ATM” and their president’s last name is “Banks.” How much more evidence do you need?