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Nick Saban reiterates he regrets naming names in NIL flap

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Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher andAlabama head coach Nick Saban chat at midfield before the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 22, 2018.Pre420Syndication The Montgomery Advertiser
Credit: Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK

Alabama coach Nick Saban again tried to defuse a dustup of his own creation with Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, saying Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings that, “I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong,” and that he has “no problem” with Fisher.

Saban again said that he regrets naming specific institutions two weeks ago at a fundraising event when he used Texas A&M and Jackson State as examples of how NIL money is being used improperly in recruiting. That sparked a response from Fisher in which he denied the accusations and lambasted Saban.

Talking to reporters on the opening day of SEC spring meetings, Saban said, “You know, I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong.” Saban was interrupted by a reporter who said: “You said they bought their recruiting class.”

“I didn’t say anybody did anything wrong,” Saban repeated. “I said everything I’m going to say about this. … I should have never mentioned individual institutions.”

Saban said he supports players’ access to NIL income but suggested the lack of enforceable national rules creates an untenable situation.

“Some kind of uniform name, image and likeness stand that supports equitable national competition is really, really important for college football,” Saban said. “And we’ve always had that with scholarships, Alston money or whatever that might be. So that’s kind of point one.

“Point two is we need some kind of transparency in name, imagine and likeness deals to verify that players are doing what they need to do to have the opportunity to make in name, image and likeness. Believe me, I’m all for players making as much as they can. But I also think that we’ve got to have some uniform, transparent way to do that.”

Four other SEC head coaches wouldn’t touch the subject of the simmering feud, which has been the talk of college football since Saban’s May 18 comments and the response from Fisher, who was a Saban assistant for five years at LSU.

Fisher, who has refused to accept calls from Saban, was not scheduled to speak Tuesday but a Texas A&M representative said he might speak later in the week.

–Field Level Media