Nick Saban Questions Whether NIL Endorsements Will Be 'Equal'
By Jason Hall
July 21, 2021
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban was careful with his words in relation to the NCAA's new NIL endorsement rule during his SEC Media Days appearance in Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday (July 21).
"Anything that I say now, because there's no precedent for it, you don't really know how it's going to affect things," Saban said during his morning press conference.
Saban's comments comes hours after he reportedly revealed that quarterback Bryce Young was approaching $1 million in NIL endorsements during an appearance at the Texas High School Coaches Association's convention on Tuesday (July 20), noting "certain positions, probably, enhance opportunities to create value, like quarterback."
On Wednesday, Saban once again addressed the topic, admitting he expects an inevitable disparity in earnings among teammates, contrary to college football's goal.
"Everything that we've done in college athletics in the past has always been equal," he said. "Everybody's had equal scholarship, equal opportunity. Now that's probably not going to be the case. Some positions, some players will have more opportunities than others.
"How that's going to impact your team, our team, the players on the team, I really can't answer because we don't have any precedent for it."
Saban added that he and his Alabama staff are doing their best to educate players on NIL endorsements.
"I know that we're doing the best we can to try to get our players to understand the circumstance they're in, the opportunity they have and how those opportunities are not going to be equal for everybody, and it will be important for our team's success that people are not looking over their shoulder at what somebody else does or doesn't do," Saban said.
During his Coaches Association convention appearance, Saban acknowledged that Young, an expected starter in 2021 who has played limited snaps for the Crimson Tide, is already receiving more offers than others.
"Certain positions, probably, enhance opportunities to create value, like quarterback, and our quarterback (Young) already has approached ungodly numbers — I'm not going to say what they are — and he hasn't even played yet. Hasn't even started," Saban said via The Athletic. "... It’s almost seven figures. And it's like, the guy hasn't even played yet. But that's because of our brand."
That's one heck of a recruiting pitch for the Tide, who not only enter the 2021 season as defending national champions, but also signed their highest-rated recruiting class (327.91 points) of all-time during National Signing Days for the 2021 national recruiting cycle in February, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Young was Alabama's top prospect for the 2020 national recruiting cycle, rating as a 5-star dual-threat quarterback and ranking as the No. 1 player for his position and the state of California, as well as the No. 2 prospect overall.
The Southern California native signed a deal to be represented by Creative Artists Agency on July 2, one day after the NCAA's new rules allowing athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness went into effect.
As of Tuesday (July 20), Young's only public endorsement has been a tweet for the company Cash App.
Young appeared in nine games as a backup for Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones -- who was selected at No. 15 overall by the New England Patriots in the 2021 NFL Draft in April -- and threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 13 of 22 passing.
The Tide will open the 2021 season in a neutral site matchup against the Miami Hurricanes in Atlanta on September 4.