Posted: August 18, 2011 in NCAA, sports
Tags: , , ,

Alabama’s Coach Nick Saban doesn’t think scholarship athletes should get more than they currently receive. I don’t have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is Saban’s reasoning.

As part of a panel discussion about how to fix college football on ESPN, Saban defended his position by saying, “Nobody’s making a profit at Alabama and putting it in their pockets.”

Huh? Say what? Are you kidding me?

I know Saban isn’t stupid so I can only explain his outrageous comment by thinking this is an example of his arrogance run amuck.

Nobody’s making a profit at Alabama and putting it in their pockets? How about Saban, who stuffs about $5 million a year in his pockets? He’s easily the highest paid employee at the University. He may be the highest paid employee in the state.

He makes that money, in part, on the sweat off his players’ backs. Obviously Saban is an outstanding coach. He deserves to be well compensated.

Maybe he’d truly be worth $5 mill a year if he turned Vanderbilt into a college football juggernaut, leading the Commodores to championships, packing the stadium, getting them on national TV week after week and getting rich alumni to open their wallets.

But Alabama football was a big, successful deal long Saban was born. It will be a big deal long after he’s gone. I was all right with him getting his 5 mill at Alabama until he opened his mouth.

That Saban is near the top, if not at the top, when it comes to a list of sports’ most arrogant people is not breaking news. This is the same guy who gave instructions when he was the head coach the Miami Dolphins that team employees were not to speak to him unless he spoke to them first. (You can’t make up stuff like that.) But you’d think Saban would be smart enough not widened the gap between football and the rest of the University. Imagine what Alabama administrators and professors truly think about Saban’s paychecks?

Of course the elite football programs at a select few schools make a huge profit — and a tax exempt profit at that. That profit is turned into mega salaries and facilities that would make royalty blush. It is at these schools where the debate rages about how shortchanged the athletes are.

Comments like the one Saban tossed out on ESPN only intensify the debate and make athletes and boosters feel justified when they operate under the table.


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