College football or reality TV?
Texas A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher escalated a war of words with Alabama coach Nick Saban in an explosive press conference Thursday morning after Saban took a shot at him on Wednesday, claiming Texas A&M “bought every player” while talking up his own program.
“It’s really despicable,” Fisher said of Saban’s comments. “It’s despicable that somebody can say things about somebody, more importantly 17-year-old kids. You’re taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families, that they broke state laws … we never bought anybody. No rules were broken. Nothing was done wrong.
“It’s despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way, or things don’t go his way. The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen.”
Fisher did not stop there, continuing to unleash on his SEC contemporary and alleging that Saban hasn’t exactly done everything above board.
“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher said. “Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out about a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football? Go dig into his past, or anybody that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out.
“I know the guy. I know him really well. It’s amazing that we’re allowed to do those things.”
On Wednesday, Saban spoke at an event promoting The World Games, which are scheduled to take place in Birmingham, Ala. in July. Unprompted, the seven-time national champion launched into a tirade about the new NIL rules, attacking several other programs in the process.
“Our players last year created $3 million worth of opportunity for themselves by doing it the right way,” Saban said. “I have no problem with that, and nobody had a problem on our team with that because the guys who got the money earned it. … The issue and the problem with name, image and likeness is coaches trying to create an advantage for themselves.
“We were second in recruiting last year, 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. 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 also went after Jackson State — currently coached by NFL legend Deion Sanders — and Miami basketball.
“Read about it in the paper. Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to the school. And they bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it,” Saban said. “These guys at Miami that are going to play basketball for $400,000, it’s in the newspaper. The guy tells you how he’s doing it. But the NCAA can’t enforce their rules because it’s not against the law.”
Both Sanders and Travis Hunter — the top prospect in question who shocked the college football world by switching from Florida State to Jackson State — responded to the claim on Twitter.
“You best believe I will address that LIE Coach SABAN told tomorrow,” Sanders tweeted. “I was & awakened by my son @ShedeurSanders that sent me the article stating that WE PAYED [sic] @TravisHunterJr a Million to play at @GoJSUTigersFB! We as a PEOPLE don’t have to pay our PEOPLE to play with our PEOPLE.”
“I got A mil? But my mom still stay in a 3 bed room house with five kids,” Hunter tweeted, with a crying-laughing emoji.
There’s no doubt, however, that the strongest response came from Fisher, who did not let ease off the attacks on Saban throughout his lengthy press conference.
“I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. If you did my old man slapped me across the face. Maybe someone should have slapped [Saban],” Fisher said.
Later in the press conference, Fisher said Saban called him in an attempt to talk it out. He did not pick up the phone.
“I didn’t take the call. We’re done. He’s the greatest ever? When you have all the advantages. It’s easy,” Fisher said.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[Written in collaboration with other media outlets with information from the following sources]