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Nick Saban: Texas A&M ‘bought every player on their team’ with NIL deals

Alabama coach Nick Saban said Texas A&M finished first in recruiting last season because the program “bought” players 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,” Saban said at an event Wednesday night for the World Games, which will be held in Birmingham, Ala., in July.

“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. 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.”

Texas A&M finished No. 1 in recruiting with 30 commits, including eight five-star players and 19 four-star players, per 247 Sports. Alabama came in second with 26 commits, three five-star players and 19 four-star players.

In 2021, the NCAA agreed to allow college athletes the ability to earn money off sponsorship and endorsement deals through NIL deals. College programs are seeking regulation as they fear potential “pay for play” will entice certain players to attend schools solely based on outside deals.

NCAA president Mark Emmert has also long lobbied for federal help on the matter. Earlier this month, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. to lobby for federal legislation to regulate NIL compensation to athletes.

(Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

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