Nick Saban Thinks NIL Will Lead to "A Lot More" Disparity Across College Football in the Future

By Griffin Strom on May 31, 2023 at 10:05 am
Nick Saban
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban made some ear-grabbing remarks about NIL and the future of college football at the SEC’s annual meetings on Tuesday.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Alabama head coach thinks the gap between the top programs and the rest of the college football landscape will only continue to widen in the coming years, especially if NIL keeps evolving in the direction of a pay-for-play model largely funded by collectives.

“If you think there’s disparity in college football now, there’s going to be a lot more in the future. ... Name, image and likeness is a good thing for players to be able to make money, but when it turns into pay for play, now you’re getting into a different area,” Saban said.

Saban said he caught flak for publicly warning those around the sport about the potential pitfalls of pay-for-play in the past, but that some of them are now coming true.

“I made the statement years ago and got very criticized for it: Is this what we want college football to become? So, now it’s kind of becoming that,” Saban said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a level playing field because some people are showing a willingness to spend more than others.”

But Saban also offered his thoughts on a possible solution. The seven-time national championship-winning head coach said college football should follow a model more similar to the NFL in an effort to even things out across the sport in the age of NIL.

“Unionize it, make it like the NFL. If it’s going to be the same for everyone, I think that’s better than what we have now. What we have now is some states and some schools and some schools in some states investing a lot more money in managing their roster than others,” Saban said. “This is going to create a real competitive disadvantage for some in the future, and it’s also going to create an imbalance in the competitive nature of the sport.”

View 15 Comments