Nick Saban warns college football could lose “parity”

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When former Dolphins coach and current I’m-not-going-to-be-the-Alabama-coach Alabama coach Nick Saban whined in January about college football needing “national legislation” to control name, image, and likeness revenue, my first thought was that he feared he wouldn’t be able to compete in this new college football world order, given that bigger cities with bigger financial resources behind their programs would swipe players that Saban currently lures to Tuscaloosa.

Some disagreed with this take, reasoning that Saban will find a way to continue his mastery of college football in a wild-west world featuring dramatic differences in the revenue being funneled to players in larger markets versus smaller ones. But would Saban be complaining about a system that he believes he’ll be able to master and control, or would he heed his mouth shut and continue to kick everyone’s ass?

Now, Saban is complaining again. Appearing with Paul Finebaum, Saban actually suggested that NIL threatens the parity of college football.

Yes, Nick Saban believes there’s parity in football. (But not that kind of parity.)

“Everything in college football has always had parity, same scholarships, same academic support, health care, whatever it is,” Saban said. “And I don’t think we have that balance right now, which could affect the parity of college football and college athletics as a whole. So I know we’ve got a lot of good people working on it. And I’m sure they’ll come up with a good solution for it.”

In fairness to Saban, he’s not talking about parity of performance. He’s talking about parity of resources. And he likes it that way.

Barring federal legislation, any attempt by the various schools to impose parity of resources has another name — federal antitrust violation. That’s what blew everything up in 2021, with a Supreme Court ruling and reasoning that gutted the ability of distinct colleges to come together and limit labor costs.

Saban’s latest comments underscore his concerns. He wants all things to be equal when it comes to what a program can offer, because that’s when he can make a difference with unparalleled recruiting skills. His silver tongue doesn’t stand a chance if someone else is carrying a golden goose.

This isn’t altruism by Saban. He’s protecting his turf, his roster, his ability to parlay parity of resources into disparity of results. Every time he talks about it, it becomes more clear.

35 responses to “Nick Saban warns college football could lose “parity”

  1. Nick is terrifed of parity, he saw it in the NFL and was the reason why he ran back to a college program that could dominate most other teams.

  2. Parity that is Alabama winning every other year and the years they don’t win still winning 13 games and having recruits falling over themselves to join the football factory

  3. Just stop it Nick. It is a business. It always has been. Let’s strip the nonsense away and set up the college model like a professional league. Pay the players to play football and not ‘play school’ (Thank you Cardale Jones). Don Ye proposed this seven years or so ago and I think the time has come to make it happen. Pay players directly. Dispense with the facade of amateurism and THEN you can impose a salary cap on the teams.

  4. He wasn’t complaining while recruiting the best athletes, was he?
    Let him face a changed landscape and many years of mediocrity

  5. NIL is going to ruin college sports, and contribute to the ruination of all sports.

    Too late, we’ll see the value of having a barrier against absolutely everything being about money.

  6. Once again, St. Nick is full of it. There’s plenty of money in Alabama. All those boosters that help pay Nick’s salary and pay his mortgage.
    Saban just doesn’t feel right if he goes 3 months without complaining about something.
    Alabama is full of football zealots. They’ll rob from the state treasury to pay football players if they have to.

  7. College football is a joke. It’s been mostly the same 4-8 teams that are relevant for the past 15 years. Nick is scared of legitimate competition because he will not have an advantage of having the best players.

  8. College football success (wins) comes from recruiting not coaching. You could be the best football coach in the world and you’ll never win a bowl game if you can’t recruit the better talent.

    This is why so many college coaches fail in the NFL. It’s also why Saban is worried.

  9. “He’s protecting his turf, his roster, his ability to parlay parity of resources into disparity of results.”

    Well… yeah… So what do you expect, that coaches, AD’s and institutions like the chaos?

  10. If someone has 3 job offers and 1 offer is significantly more lucrative, then more often than not a person will choose to work for the highest paying company. Saban should consider offering up some of the multi millions he has earned from all the free labor prior to NIL contracts….

  11. Sure…other schools offer scholarships. They just can’t afford to free ride EVERY MEMBER OF THE TEAM. Therefore, Alabama’s team is stronger.

    Other programs also don’t have the millions of dollars Alabama has to pay cupcake schools to lose to them.

    There’s as much parity in college football as there is in MLB.

    If everyone was truly had the same resources, Sabin wouldn’t have as many championships as he has…

  12. He is right though. There will soon be a top ten in college football and everyone else will be like a division III team.

  13. Only reason to watch college football is to gamble on it. There hasn’t been parity in a long time. Only a handful of programs have a chance each year and 2 or 3 programs dominate the landscape for handful of years at a time or in Saban’s case; forever.

  14. I don’t know about Saban having a “silver tongue” but I do know that even 40yrs later Alabama recruiting still has the “Bear Bryany effect” and had it not been for that Saban wouldn’t have nearly as many Championships as he does now!

  15. How can he say anything about academic parity when the only thing you need to get into Bama is an expired drivers licence.

  16. I think you underestimate how much Bama boosters can and are willing to cough up to keep their team on top. Bigger cities have big companies and such, but there are also alot more other things to spend money on there.
    College football and the Talledega Nascar race are all the state of Alabama has. They’ll throw every last penny into keeping the Tide on top.

  17. Can’t stand college football’s “parity”. How can a league have hundreds of teams and literally you can count on one hand which ones have a chance to win a title?

    In the NFL, say what you want, I can tell you why all 32 fanbases feel like they have a chance to win a title in the next handful of years.

  18. He rules CFB as a Buckeye fan most of us don’t really think were on his level .

  19. He is right NIL will kill CFB as we now know it why oh why should Indiana and Vanderbilt to pick two random crappy teams continue playing the NIL has raised to bar to high they’d be better off dropping sports all together .

  20. Translation: Players realizing they can play in Miami, Los Angeles, Texas, or their home town and don’t need to live in Alabama is killing his recruiting pitches.

  21. The idea that parity exists in college football now is a complete and utter fantasy. It’s generally the same teams in the playoffs every year, only slight variations. Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State every year. Oklahoma usually in it. Sometimes a Mighigan sneaks in, sometimes LSU is in it. They try to crowbar a perennially overrated Notre Dame into it, giving them every advantage and benefit that “regular” teams don’t get. And that is it. Every year. That’s parity? Sure, there may be equal numbers of scholarships across the board, but that isn’t parity. What about all of the other resources that the powerhouses have, disparities in TV contracts between conferences, etc.? Notre Dame has NBC as a national network to themselves and an ACC safety net without committing to the conference. That isn’t parity.

  22. All Saban can do is recruit. As was proven in his brief, pathetic NFL stint. If he doesn’t have vastly superior talent then he’s just another fool with a clipboard.

  23. Nick’s idea of parity is Alabama winning the championship every year. His retirement can’t come soon enough.

  24. Corrupt = totally corrupt – the fact that all the big teams get to recruit (with little rules and or oversight) all of the best highschool players while the other teams are left with whatever is left over.

  25. Of course there’s no “parity”, even with regards to resources. Under the table payments have been a part of college sports for decades. And for all the schools crying about NIL payments, if schools can’t afford it then why are some players being offered millions of dollars?

    I think NIL is necessary, but it’s also not a perfect solution – and I don’t know what that would look like. I’m wondering if there will eventually be a college “NIL cap”?

    But Saban isn’t worried about “parity”. He’ll get all the top players he needs. He just doesn’t like the possibility of more competition in recruiting.

  26. Parity? What parity? This seems like it is a dozen team league with a few pretenders added each season to be dispensed with to make it look competitive.

  27. The old, but tried and adage of, Just Follow the Money is coming full circle in CFB. Nicky Bob and his football factory are going to see less and Nicky Bob knows it.

  28. Some of you are kidding yourself if you think Saban is worried about his team. Aside from Texas, Texas A&M, and maybe OSU, Bama boosters have as deep of pockets as anyone out there.
    The “big city” aspect is being way over-blown. The Tide will still pay as well as anyone as is showing in recruiting and the portal.

    And no, I’m not a Bama fan. Go Gators..

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