In the wake of a war of words between Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban, the Southeastern Conference has issued a public reprimand to both football coaches on Thursday.
“There is tremendous frustration concerning the absence of consistent rules from state to state related to name, image and likeness,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “We need to work together to find solutions and that will be our focus at the upcoming SEC Spring Meetings.
“Public criticism of any kind does not resolve issues and creates a distraction from seeking solutions for the issues facing college athletics today.”
Saban called out Texas A&M on Wednesday night for “buying” players in its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals, saying Crimson Tide football players earned more than $3 million last year “the right way.”
Fisher responded Thursday morning.
“It’s despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn’t get his way or things don’t go his way,” Fisher said. “The narcissist in him doesn’t allow those things to happen —- it’s ridiculous — when he’s not on top. And the parity in college football he’s been talking about? Go talk to coaches who have coached for him. You’ll find out all the parity. Go dig into wherever he’s been.
“We never bought anybody, no rules are broken. Nothing was done wrong.”
Saban attempted to clarify his comments Thursday on SiriusXM, saying he apologized for singling anyone out, that he didn’t mean to say rules were broken, but that he wasn’t going to change his philosophy in regards to college football.
Texas A&M finished with the consensus No. 1 class as rated by the major recruiting services, with Alabama finishing second. This past season, the Aggies defeated the Crimson Tide on the field as well, 41-38, in College Station, with the winning field goal kicked by Katy High School’s Seth Small.