Last week, while speaking at an event with local business leaders in Birmingham, Alabama head coach Nick Saban fired shots at both Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and Jackson State head coach, Deion Sanders.
“I mean, we were second in recruiting last year,” Saban told the audience. “A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn't buy one player, all right? But I don't know if we're gonna be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it. It's tough.”
“Hell, read about it in the paper. I mean, Jackson State paid a guy $1 million last year that was a really good Division I player to come to the school. It was in the paper, and they bragged about it. Nobody did anything about it. I mean, these guys at Miami that are going to play basketball there for $400,000, it's in the newspaper. The guy tells you how he's doing it.”
During a recent episode of the “I am Athlete” podcast, Sanders took the opportunity to fire back at Saban, saying that he and Fisher were “pawns in his plea for help from his boosters and his donors.”
Deion Sanders responds to comments made by Alabama head coach, Nick Saban
“I’m a critical thinker. This one ain’t about me,” Sanders said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. “When I look through the smoke and through the fire, Coach Saban used me and used Jimbo Fisher as pawns in his plea for help from his boosters and his donors. We were just pawns. He was really going at his people to up the ante so that he could outdo Coach Fisher. Now, they just threw me in the fire because of what we accomplished in recruiting with Kevin Coleman and Travis (Hunter) and some others. They just threw us in the fire because he was the spokesman for all SEC and he was the spokesman for all the Power Fives. … So I don’t blame him, man. I know what he’s trying to do. …
“The thing that stung was that — so you feel like it’s no connectivity to the culture and our people — that the only way we could do that is we pay them?” Sanders also said. “So it’s no way that I can secure a Power Five caliber player? He said a D1 player — a D1 caliber player or something of that nature — like he chose something less to participate in over what they can offer.”
To be honest, we were hoping that Sanders' response would be a bit more entertaining!