Nick Saban is setting the record straight when it comes to his comments toward Texas A&M and Jackson State. The Alabama Crimson Tide football head coach appeared on SiriusXM's ESPNU radio to apologize for singling out the two schools for how they have recruited players during the new era of name, image and likeness (NIL).
"That was a mistake and I apologize for that part of it," Saban said, clarifying that he wasn't accusing Texas A&M or Jackson State of breaking any rules or laws through NIL deals, per CBS Sports. "I really wasn't saying that anyone did anything illegal in using name, image and likeness. I didn't say that. That was something that was assumed by what I said, which is not really what I meant, nor was it what I said. There's nothing illegal about doing this. It's the system that allows you to do it, and that's the issue that I have."
Earlier in the week, Saban said that Texas A&M bought its players. He also said that Jackson State paid $1 million to top recruit Travis Hunter. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders fired back at Saban for the comments.
"I don't think NIL in its original form or what people wanted it to be is really an issue at all," Saban said. "I think collectives are the issue. I think one of the solutions would be if you have people that are representatives of your school that give money to a collective, and then the collective turns around and gives it to players on the team ... then that collective should become a representative of the institution. And they should not be able to give money to the player, just like an alumnus can't give money to a player."
Texas A&M finished the 2022 recruiting season with the No. 1 class, according to 247Sports. The school had a better class than Alabama which came in at No. 2 in the rankings. Jackson State, an FCS school, signed Hunter, who is listed as the No. 1 player in the country. He signed with Jackson State over Florida State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.