In what could be considered a statement that amounts to a preemptive strike, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has come out in favor of making sure players are taken care of.
On players rights:
“I’ve always been an advocate of players’ rights. I’ve always been an advocate of players being compensated the best that we can to help them. Whatever the NCAA rule is and whatever they decide to do, I’ve always been an advocate of the player and the quality of life that a player has. I think that having a voice in what happens, I think, is something that the players probably ought to have.”
“And I’m really not opposed to that at all. I do think that it’s not what it seems.”
On his players at Alabama:
“I don’t think that the players just receive a scholarship. I think a lot of players really realize that, understand that and appreciate that. We can’t pay them but we can reinvest in trying to help them be successful in their future, which I think we do a marvelous job here at the University of Alabama. I think a lot of people do. I think that’s what makes great programs. I think that’s why players want to come and be a part of the program, because we do reinvest in the future and their chances of being successful, and we do care. And it’s not just about football.”
It’s obvious that Saban, as well as other high-profile coaches, can see the writing on the wall and the tussles that will most certainly come in the future.
This isn’t an instance where you can point a finger at Saban and say “Me thinks he doth protest too much.” Despite his reputation for being a bit of a hard-nosed coach with little regard for feelings, Saban makes some excellent points and he would probably be a person the NCAA would want in their corner when negotiations–which seem inevitable–eventually start.