Jimbo Fisher blasts Nick Saban over NIL allegations: 'Some people think they're God'
Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't have Twitter or Instagram like Deion Sanders, but he still didn't wait long to launch an attack on Nick Saban's accusations that the Aggies bought every player in their top-ranked 2022 recruiting class.
Saban, the Alabama football coach, called out Fisher's Aggies and Sanders' Jackson State program at an event promoting the World Games 2022 Birmingham on Wednesday.
"We were second in recruiting last year," Saban said. "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. 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."
Fisher, in a news conference that wasn't scheduled until Thursday, responded firmly in one of the most pointed and fierce public rebuttals of another coach in college football history.
"It's a shame that we have to do this," Fisher said. "It's really despicable. It's despicable that someone can say something about somebody, more importantly 17-year-old kids. You're taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families, that they broke state laws, that we bought every player in the group?"
Fisher said Texas A&M never bought players, no rules were broken and nothing was done wrong.
"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 continued. "The narcissist in him doesn't allow those things to happen. It's ridiculous, when he's not on top."
The Aggies landed the No. 1 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, not long after defeating Alabama in the regular season. Fisher became the first former Saban assistant to defeat the coach.
The two coached together at LSU in the early 2000s when Saban was coach of the Tigers.
"Listen, you coach with people like Bobby Bowden and learn how to do things," Fisher said. "You coach with other people and learn how not to do things. There's a reason I ain't been back to work for him, with opportunities. Don't want to be associated with it."
Fisher doubled down on his statement later in the news conference that the Aggies didn’t cheat to sign this class, saying you can call Fisher whatever you would like but he is not a cheat and doesn’t lie.
"I learned that when I was a kid, if you did, your old man slapped you ‘side the head,” Fisher said. “Maybe somebody should have slapped (Saban).”
Alabama and Texas A&M will face each other Oct. 8 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"Some people think they're God," Fisher said. "Go dig into how God did his deal. You might find out about a guy, a lot of things you don't want to know. We build him up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody who has ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to know about what he does and how he does it. It's despicable."
Saban also accused Sanders, the Pro Football Hall of Famer turned college coach, of paying a player $1 million to play for the Tigers.
"You best believe I will address the LIE coach Saban told tomorrow," Sanders tweeted late Wednesday.
Fisher urged people to ask staff members who worked under Saban to find out exactly what he is all about.
"My dad always told me this: When people show you who they are, believe them," Fisher said. "He's showing you who he is."
Fisher said he hasn't had any contact with Saban, but the Alabama coach has tried to call. Fisher said he's not going to take the call.
"We're done," Fisher said. "He showed you who he is. He's the greatest ever, huh? When you've got all the advantages, it's easy."
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly