COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Talk about a battle off the field.
Texas A&M's Coach Jimbo Fisher responded to Alabama's Nick Saban after Saban claimed Fisher bought its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals.
“You read about it, you know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team," Saban said at a speaking event in Alabama Wednesday. "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. It’s tough.”
While it's true the NCAA has relaxed most of its rules on athletes from earning money for sponsorship and endorsement deals, Saban is claiming Fisher used NIL deals to sway athletes to come and play for A&M.
Saban, who has won six national championships, didn't hold anything back, including tooting his own horn.
“Our players last year created $3 million worth of opportunities for themselves in doing it the right way," Saban said. "I have no problem with that and nobody had a problem on our team with that because the guys that got the money earned it. There were only 25 guys on our team that had opportunity to earn money.”
Coach Fisher's camp called an impromptu press conference Thursday, throwing the media, fans and pretty much the entire state of college football into a frenzy.
"It's a shame that we have to do this," Fisher said, starting off the press conference. "It's really despicable." Fisher went after Saban and accused him of going after 17-year-old kids and their families by claiming rules were broken and they didn't earn their spot at A&M.
Fisher didn't hold back, calling Saban a narcissist childish and throwing a temper tantrum when "he didn't get his way." Fisher claimed Saban isn't as squeaky clean as he appears to be.
"The parity in college football he's been talking about? Go talk to coaches who have coached for him. You'll find out all the parity. Go dig in to where he's been."
Fisher, who worked under Saban for five years for LSU, scoffed at the pedestal so many people put Saban on.
"Some people think they're god. Go dig into how god did his deal. You may find out about a guy a lot of things you don't want to know. We built him up to be the Czar of football. Go dig into his past."
Fisher went on to praise the team and coaches of Texas A&M, and said the organization has always done the right thing. He said Saban's comments hit on a personal level and said he is sorry to the recruitment class who have to deal with Saban's insults.
"When people show you who they are," Fisher said about Saban, "believe them. He's showing you who he is."