Nick Saban: Alabama players topped $3 million in NIL money

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ATLANTA — Nick Saban has been vocal about his issues with the status quo in name, image and likeness deals and their use in recruiting.

But it’s not like Alabama’s coach and his players haven’t benefited, too. Saban said Crimson Tide players have made more than $3 million in NIL money.

“The biggest concern is how does this impact and affect recruiting?” he said Tuesday at the Southeastern Conference Media Days. “On the recruiting trail right now, there’s a lot of people using this as inducements to go to their school by making promises they may or may not be able to keep in terms of what players are doing.

“I think that is what can create a competitive balance issue between the haves and have-nots. We’re one of the haves. Don’t think that what I’m saying is a concern that we have at Alabama because we’re one of the haves.”

The touchy topic boiled over in the offseason after Saban singled out Texas A&M and other schools for using the NIL deals in recruiting. Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher fired back at his former boss and denied any wrongdoing in his program, which landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

“I think they both kind of illustrate the frustration of how things are right now,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “It’s not sustainable, so something’s going to change.”

Leach says as things stand “college athletes have more privileges than anybody at any other professional level.”

“Go up to your next favorite NFL guy, say: `Hey, I heard in the NFL they’re going to have unmitigated free agency, 365, 24/7. And, by the way, there’s not going to be any salary cap or draft, you’re just going to have bidding wars,”‘ Leach said. “Just watch the expression on their face. Don’t look at anything else or write down any notes because the expression on their face will be well worth it.”

YOUNG’S APPROACH

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young says he can’t afford to rest coming off his Heisman Trophy-winning season. That is, after all, old news.

“I don’t feel like I’m a finished product by any means,” Young said. “I have a lot of stuff I want to keep getting better at.

“The way I look at it, it’s an award that celebrates the past, which is an honor, but it doesn’t entitle me to anything in the future.”

Young is trying to join Archie Griffin (1964 and 1965) as the only two-time Heisman winner.

SHANE’S STYLE

Shane Beamer didn’t let any of his fellow SEC coaches upstage him at media days, not even Alabama’s Saban.

South Carolina released a hype video on social media of Beamer ahead of his appearance at the podium. It showed Beamer swaggering into a team meeting room to Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On” earlier Tuesday in Columbia. Players wiped his brow, handed him a Gamecocks cap (which he placed on backward) and some shades.

Beamer showed off a few moves while players held up lights in the background.

“Walked in, changed clothes, knocked it out in three takes,” he said later in Atlanta. “Had a lot of fun doing it as well. I was a little bit taken aback because one of our players thought I needed to hear the song so I knew what the song was and I knew what the words were. I’m not that old. I know who Soulja Boy is. I know some of the words to that song. It was an easy ask.”

VANDY’S WRIGHT MOVE

Mike Wright enters preseason camp as Vanderbilt’s starting quarterback.

Coach Clark Lea said he informed Wright and former starter Ken Seals of that decision after spring practices.

“It’s all about moving the ball,” Lea said. “One way to do that is with a mobile quarterback. MIke Wright is one of the best in the country in that respect.

“We want him to develop as a total quarterback, which he is. He’s demonstrated leadership abilities, too. We’re excited for him to enter the fall as our starting quarterback. He knows that he has to earn that every day. That’s part of our covenant.”

Wright flashed his personality and sartorial style, enthusiastically discussing his suit purchased in Atlanta and sporting a red carnation.

“I’m a big fashion guy,” he said, giving a shout-out to his suit guy.

 

South Carolina gives AD Tanner raise, two-year extension

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner received a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through June 2026.

Tanner, 64, is a two-time College World Series champion as the Gamecocks’ baseball coach who moved to leading the athletic department in July 2012.

The new deal was approved by the school’s board of trustees Friday and replaces Tanner’s old agreement that was set to expire in June 2024. Tanner will receive a raise of more than $153,000 per season, increasing his total compensation to $1.175 million.

Tanner has had his ups and downs leading the department. He took over when football coach Steve Spurrier was in the middle of three straight 11-2 seasons with players like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

Tanner’s hire to replace Spurrier, Will Muschamp, lasted less than five seasons before he was let go in the middle of 2020. Muschamp’s replacement, current coach Shane Beamer, has had back-to-back winning seasons and been to a bowl game his first two yeas.

Tanner has also overseen the rise of women’s basketball under coach Dawn Staley, who signed a seven-year contract before the 2021-22 season worth $22.4 million. Staley and the Gamecocks won the national title last April and are favorites to repeat this season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum says he’ll be back by fall camp

Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.

Corum said that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina

Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.

“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.

“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”

Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.