Here's how much Nick Saban said Alabama football players made in NIL in 2021
ATLANTA — Alabama football coach Nick Saban said his players made more than $3 million off their name, image and likeness in 2021.
Many coaches and programs have not disclosed financial numbers. It didn't stop Saban when asked by a reporter Tuesday at SEC Media Days.
"Our players did extremely well last year," Saban said.
Prior to the same event in 2021, Saban had mentioned at a coaches conference that quarterback Bryce Young had made almost seven figures before starting a game. Then Young went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
"I'm all for the players being able to do as well as they can to use their name, image and likeness to create value for themselves," Saban said. "We have a great brand at Alabama, so players, their value there is certainly going to be enhanced because of the value our brand can help them create."
Saban hit on points he has emphasized since NIL began last summer, including how he wants uniformity in how NIL is implemented, transparency and protecting players.
"We really want to make sure our players are not being misguided in any way," Saban said.
His biggest concern remains how this impacts recruiting, he said. Saban has made that clear throughout the offseason, including when he made comments that Texas A&M bought its entire recruiting class at an event in May. He later said he shouldn't have singled anyone out, but Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher held a fiery press conference the next morning, calling Saban a narcissist who maybe should have been slapped as a child.
None of the reporters who had a chance to ask a question Tuesday when Saban was on the main stage brought this up, but Saban continued to talk about the impact NIL has on recruiting.
"On the recruiting trail right now, there's a lot of people using this right now as inducements to go to their school," Saban said.
He thinks that is what creates competitive balance issues between the haves and have-nots.
"And we're one of the haves," Saban said. "So don't think that what I'm saying is a concern we have at Alabama. We're one of the haves, but everybody in college football cannot do these things relative to how they raise money in a collective or how they distribute money to players."
Saban doubled down on NIL not being an issue at Alabama. He is more so concerned about guidelines for NIL around the sport.
"Our players I think did better than anybody in the country last year," Saban said.
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly