Nick Saban revealed why he left coaching and what he believes has killed college sports

Mar 18, 2024

Nick Saban has been one of the most successful college football coaches in history and he has the record to prove it.

But Saban has retired from the game that he has dedicated his life to.

And Coach Saban recently told Ted Cruz why he left college football and what change killed college sports.

One of the longest and most heated debates in all of college sports

Many universities have been stripped of titles, lost scholarships and been denied bowl opportunities after it was discovered boosters were paying college football and basketball players.

Each time a penalty was handed down, it would reignite the debate over whether collegiate athletes should be paid for their play.

One side argued that the players brought in tons of money and attention for their respective universities.

The other side argued that it’s an amateur sport, their first priority is to get an education and that the players were already receiving free tuition and room and board.

In 2019, California started a trend by passing a law forcing the NCAA to allow student athletes to make money off of their names, images and likeness (NIL).

By 2021, 20 states passed similar legislation and the NCAA, seeing the writing on the wall caved and lifted its ban on athletes getting paid by third parties.

In early February, and after years of trying, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – a government agency stacked with union officials – deemed that the Dartmouth University basketball team, since they’re “paid” for their “work” are actually “employees” of the school.

“All the things I believed in for…50 years of coaching, no longer exist in college athletics”

And now legendary college football coach Nick Saban is explaining to Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas why paying student athletes have removed everything he believed in about collegiate sports.

Senator Cruz held a roundtable discussion about NIL on Capitol Hill this past week and the seven-time national championship winning coach was one of the key attendees.

The former Alabama coach says the introduction of NIL has made college ball all about the money.

“All the things I believed in for all these years, 50 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.”

The 72-year-old College GameDay analyst recalled a conversation with his wife about this issue that he said helped prompt his decision to retire.

“My wife even said to me, we have all the recruits over on Sunday with their parents for breakfast,” Saban added. “She would always meet with the mothers and talk about how she was going to help impact their sons and how they would be well taken care of. She came to me like right before I retired and said, ‘Why are we doing this?’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She said, ‘All they care about is how much you’re 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 – who won 12 conference championships in his coaching career — clarified that he’s not against players being compensated when their name, image or likeness is used for profit.

However, he believes there’s a better system that would keep the focus on education and development so the student athletes can have a better life long-term.

“I want their quality of life to be good,” Saban concluded. “Name, image and likeness is a great opportunity for them to create a brand for themselves. I’m not against that at all. To come up with some kind of a system that can still help the development of young people, I still think, is paramount to the future of college athletics.”

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