By RJ Young
FOX Sports College Football Writer
Speaking at an event for Birmingham businesspeople on Wednesday, Saban told the crowd that Texas A&M, which the Crimson Tide host on Oct. 8 in Tuscaloosa, “bought” recruits through Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals.
“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” said Saban according to AL.com. “You read about it, you know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for Name, Image and Likeness.
“We didn’t buy one player. All right? But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future, because more and more people are doing it. It’s tough.”
Nick Saban accuses Texas A&M of buying top-ranked players
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If that weren’t enough, Saban took a shot at a lower division school in Jackson State. He claimed that alumni of the program spent $1 million to entice former No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter to attend the HBCU in Jackson, Mississippi.
“We have a rule right now that said you cannot use Name, Image and Likeness to entice a player to come to your school. Hell, read about it in the paper!” Saban said. “I mean, Jackson State paid a guy a million dollars last year that was a really good Division I player to come to school. It was in the paper, and they bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it.”
All of this was a bridge too far for JSU coach Deion Sanders, who issued a tweet refuting Saban’s allegation.
But, in true Aggie fashion, a tweet simply wasn’t going to cut it for Fisher.
The only former Saban assistant to beat him while Saban has been at Alabama called an impromptu press conference on a Thursday morning in the middle of May and, much like Cersei Lannister, Fisher chose violence.
After first uttering how angry he was that Saban would allege misconduct at A&M, Fisher personally attacked Saban.
“It’s despicable that we have to sit here at this level of ball and say these things to defend the people of this organization, the kids, 17-year-old kids and their families,” Fisher said. “It’s amazing. Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how ‘God’ did his deal. You may find out about a lot of things you don’t want to know.
“We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It’s despicable. It really is.”
When Fisher was asked if Saban had called him, he cut off the question.
“Oh, he’s called,” Fisher said. “Not going to [take the call]. We’re done.”
Fisher was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000 to 2004 and held that title with the Tigers until 2006.
In 2007, the year Saban returned to college football at Alabama, Fisher interviewed for the head-coaching job at the University of Alabama-Birmingham — his first job in the sport was at nearby Samford, where Bobby Bowden coached and played — and learned he’d been selected for the position only for it to be taken from him just after he had agreed to terms.
University of Alabama trustees oversee the University of Alabama system, which encompasses UAB. The trustees reportedly nixed the agreement so that Saban wouldn’t have to compete with Fisher for players just an hour’s drive away.
“I know the guy,” Fisher said of Saban. “I know him really well. It’s the second time we’ve had to do this with grown men who don’t get their way and want to pout and throw a fit and act…