It’s no coincidence Saban suddenly is concerned about agents

"Hello, my name is Nick Saban, and suddenly I feel the urge to talk about something."

"Hello, my name is Nick Saban, and suddenly I feel the urge to talk about something."

HOOVER, Ala. – Far be it for me to steer attention away from an important issue like sports agents trying to recruit impressionable young men as their future clients, especially when said student-athletes clearly are in the middle of summer school classes as they work toward their doctoral thesis and certainly have no time to go to South Beach for a party.

But exactly when did Nick Saban become so concerned about sports agents, or, as he calls them: “pimps.”

Because I certainly don’t remember him speaking out when Reggie Bush helped get Southern Cal thrown into the NCAA’s penitentiary. And I don’t remember him saying anything when an Alabama player, Antonio Langham, took money from agent back in 1993. Just wondering: Was he upset a few days ago when he heard reports that a Florida player, Maurkice Pouncey, might have taken $100,000 from an agent. Because maybe we all missed that.

Saban has been coaching football for a lot of years and for a lot of teams, college and pro. This issue of agents preying on college players isn’t new. It predates 8-tracks. So it must just be an amazing coincidence that the Alabama coach is only now speaking so passionately about this issue, the day after his best defensive player, Marcell Dareus, was reported to be on an agent’s party list in Miami.

What prompts a coach generally so guarded in public to say of agents, “How are they any better than a pimp”? (and that should go over well with Saban’s agent, who was pimping the coach to NFL teams, including the Falcons, when Saban was still at LSU and then back to the SEC when he was with the Miami Dolphins, for roughly 10 minutes).

And what do we call it when Saban, in expressing how this issue affects everybody in the big picture, has an epiphany: “Maybe we need to not be so self-absorbed about how it just affects us and the NFL and see how it affects everyone and do something about it.” Because somehow “ironic” or “disingenuous” just don’t seem strong enough. (Breaking news: Elvis living on Neptune, and Nick Saban wants what’s best for everybody.)

Truth is, if you want to know why Saban is such a successful college football coach, this is reason No. 1. So many coaches know Xs and Os. So many can recruit. So many can sell their program and schmooze the mom and spot talent from a mile away and with the lights turned off.

Not every coach can do the things that really separate a program from the pack. Not every coach can motivate players like Saban or so flawlessly distract to his benefit by overinflating a storyline. A year ago, Alabama was coming off a great season but not nearly great enough. The Crimson Tide went through the regular season undefeated, but then lost to Florida in the SEC title game and got drilled by Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

Saban seized on that ending. He told everybody that Alabama had accomplished nothing. Nothing! He wouldn’t let his players forget the loss to Florida all season. By the time of last year’s SEC title game rematch, Alabama players were ready to run through cinder block. They steamrolled Florida like they were Ball State.

Now comes this: a sports agent reportedly hosted a gathering this summer. Players from Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina have been connected to reports. But Saban’s pyrotechnics have created bigger headlines.  Stories of Alabama trying to repeat as national champions have faded. Even Dareus is an afterthought. Brilliant.

Saban kept referring to what agents do as “entrapment.” Really? Was the agent wired or disguised as a plumber?

He said if the NFL doesn’t do something about this, his “hospitality” of opening practices to scouts might stop. That should go over well with his players, who want to play in the NFL.

At one point, Saban, who obliterated the college coaches’ salary ceiling when he signed with Alabama in 2007, said with almost a sigh: “I think most everything gets a little bit about money somewhere along the way.”

Yes, Nick. A crushing realization.

Previous SEC/Georgia posts

SEC media days: Hey, who let the BCS in here?

We’re LIVE at SEC media days (with no shortage of storylines)

NCAA reportedly investigating Florida (but temper excitement)

Can Dogs end Alabama-Florida monopoly in SEC title game?

Listen up, Ole Miss: I’ve got Colonel Reb’s replacement

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

85 comments Add your comment

Hawk n the Ham

July 21st, 2010
6:10 pm

Schultzie in ‘The Ham’! Welcome.

@DanWeiner

July 21st, 2010
6:16 pm

Boom. Roasted.

Saban is such a jackass.

RollBravesRoll

July 21st, 2010
6:23 pm

You are the world’s biggest idiot Schultz. You know nothing about baseball & now you prove you know nothing about football. Blast Saban all you want, but when something FINALLY gets done about this, you’ll all have the world’s most powerful coach to thank for it. Notice how many NFL scouts are shaking at the thought of the most NFL friendly program in the country shutting it’s doors to them.

GeoffDawg

July 21st, 2010
6:32 pm

It’d be entrapment if the NCAA sent agents undercover to bribe players. This is more akin to getting busted buying meth out of somebody’s trailer and then saying that the drug dealer “entrapped” you.

dobearsbare

July 21st, 2010
6:35 pm

Yeah, I loved the money quote …

I’d love for Gene Chizik to get up there and respond to the first query about agents with this: “It really pains us on the Plains that there’s such a crimson stain on college football. Next question.”

JacketFanMarcus

July 21st, 2010
6:39 pm

Man, Saban is worried is program is going to get in ‘hot water’. This is pure CYA. Done like a true politician, not a top football coach.

We didn’t hear a peep out him when Florida and USC was brought up.

Saban doesn’t like talking to the media. Now he’s on FULL blast! What a shallow, showman…

Sports Review

July 21st, 2010
6:40 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

destin dawg

July 21st, 2010
6:44 pm

Nick Saban is a super coach…. too intense for me on a daily basis… Agents can be pimps.. keep them away from student/athletes until they graduate.. too much $$$$ in sports.. give Mark Richt credit for getting players in NFL.. and not for example (unlike Urban Meyer) trying to talk Moreno or Stafford out of going Pro with all the $$$$$ on the line.. GO DAWGS !!

greg norton facts

July 21st, 2010
6:44 pm

saban has spoken. nobody will question him. rooooaaar!!!

killerj

July 21st, 2010
6:50 pm

Same old,same old,so what,s new in the Sec?

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Agents and their pursuit of college players dominated the first day of SEC media days. Alabama coach Nick Saban referred to agents as pimps. [...]

Delbert D.

July 21st, 2010
6:58 pm

Okay, here are some ideas.

1) Sue the illegal recipient of money for fraud. It’s the only thing I can think of, since state or federal laws may not have been broken.

2) In additional to all other existing NCAA sanctions, require the school found guilty/with knowledge of Reggie Bush-type infractions to forfeit a certain number of games in the current or upcoming season at the time of the decision. The opposing schools(s) selected for forfeited games must be reimbursed for projected lost revenues in stadium receipts and TV revenues. The forfeits must officially be recorded as wins for the opposing team(s).

3) The affected university must have the ability to seek redress in civil court against members of their organization and against 3rd parties, including sports agents, with the full support of the NCAA.

That would be a good start.

J Dog

July 21st, 2010
7:02 pm

Here’s what Saban doesn’t want anybody to notice:

Saban needs to figure out how to finish in the top 10 consecutively more than 1 time in his career. He doesn’t even have a decent winning %, 700. He’s an ok coach, a “timing” coach, he times it to have a big year every 9 or 10 years. Saban’s record the rest of the years is pathetic, he wins 7 games or less, 50% of his coaching seasons.

Nick Saban, the human yo yo, aka “Mr. See Saw”, the most inconsistent coach in America.

TampaGator

July 21st, 2010
7:03 pm

Please just kick the damn football off and then shoot all the professional sports agents in the head (and put Lane Kiffin in the middle of them all and shoot him last)!

TampaGator

July 21st, 2010
7:04 pm

Just kidding about that one part….which was kicking the football off. It is too early for that.

1eyedJack

July 21st, 2010
7:06 pm

Hang ‘em!! There all lawyers anyway.

Michael

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

Didn’t Alabama pass some laws regarding agents after Auburn got put on probation?

J Dog

July 21st, 2010
7:12 pm

Good job Jeff staying objective, and not getting caught up into “Sabanpaloosa”.

Saban’s a sidetracker. If he’s getting too much attention in an area he doesn’t want, he likes to create a massive diversion. But, instead, we’ll just turn up the SPOTLIGHT on SABAN’S feeble inconsistency.

Saban doesn’t want people asking about his defense. 9 players gone. Or especially his secondary. He’d rather talk about his offense.

Or his lack of offensive wizardry, as Mullen torched Saban on that with the “how’s he done with getting his QB’s drafted in the 1st round of the NFL?”. He’d rather talk about his new statue.

Saban doesn’t want anyone remembering his top 10 list, as one of the most disliked guys in all of sports, according to Forbes.

He sure doesn’t want to talk about his lack of loyalty to his players and universities.

Saban doesn’t want people thinking about the 50% of his seasons when he couldn’t even win 8 games. He’s rather focus on his 2 good years.

He doesn’t want people thinking about the fact he’s only finished consecutively in the top 10, 1x in his career.

Nick Saban “Mr. See Saw”

DP

July 21st, 2010
7:12 pm

Really hitting the low hanging fruit there Jeff. This one is right up there with mocking Kawakami when he was 0-7. Seriously, you’re a lot better than this.

DP

July 21st, 2010
7:24 pm

With regard as to why Saban would speak out so forcefully on this issue and not on issues at USC or Florida, I’d guess (a) he had no more knowledge of the facts at USC or Florida than anybody else and unlike AJC columnists who are paid to post 3 or 4 inflammatory internet blogs a day he wasn’t compelled to comment when he didn’t know what he was talking about and (b) he’s responsible for Alabama’s program, not USC’s or Florida’s.

Gumby

July 21st, 2010
7:41 pm

Ditto DP.
Jeff this was nothing more than a rant on Saban.

Stain

July 21st, 2010
7:50 pm

You can criticize Saban all you want, but the bottom line is these “agents” can ruin someone’s football career and get their school NCAA sanctions. I don’t think any true college football fan would want their program hit with infractions or see someone’s NFL career jeopardized.

SecGuy

July 21st, 2010
7:57 pm

Actually Alabama and Saban had agent issues with Andre Smith two years ago and didn’t react as strongly. But no need to give all the facts when you have another chance to take a shot at Saban.

DP

July 21st, 2010
8:12 pm

Jeff, Nick Saban was defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns at the time Antonio Langham took money from an agent. You probably had hair back then. I doubt that a lot of people were asking Saban for comments at the time or that you even knew who he was.

This piece is about as fair as the hit job on the woman in the Agriculture Department. You should be proud to be in such company.

zombiewoof

July 21st, 2010
8:24 pm

Haha, good stuff. This makes for a good laugh.

I’m curious though, Jeff, did you take the opportunity today to ask him (to his face) when he became so concerned with agents (pimps)?

Didn’t think so.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Schultz, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: For those who missed it, nothing was funnier than Nick Saban's press conference. Read on: http://bit.ly/avEOM2 [...]

Marcel Dareus

July 21st, 2010
8:41 pm

The real reason Saban can separate a program from the pack is because he buys players. It’s probably the worst kept secret in the SEC. The idea that he’s speaking about “honesty and integrity” in college football is just absolutely absurd. But then, that’s the mentality of crooks: after they get away with it a few times they start to think they’re invincible.

[...] It's no coincidence Saban suddenly is concerned about agents Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) – Jul 21st – 18:35 [...]

Eddie

July 21st, 2010
10:59 pm

Jeff you continue to prove why you are a complete idiot! Your going to blame Saban…..are you kidding me! The players receive constant infrormation and training on agents and they know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Unless you have a hundred babysittters then the players are going to have opportunities to make selfish decisions. Don’t worry about UGA
Schultz….unless A.J. Green attended the party, the DAWGS don’t have anyone worth an agents attention.

Eddie

July 21st, 2010
11:02 pm

Hey J Dog……How many National Championships has Richt won? That’s what I thought…..none!

Eddie

July 21st, 2010
11:18 pm

Hey DP…..Fyi Schultz is not a whole lot better than that…..his anti-BAMA bias has always been prevelent. Let me guess…this year he will predict San Jose State in an upset over Bama in the season opener. Last year he was only forced to pick the Tide most every week, because he didn’t want his record to look soooo bad. Schultz is a Bama hater from way back.

BAMAToNE

July 21st, 2010
11:24 pm

Nice job ranting on Saban (again) instead of debating the merits of what he suggested be done to solve the problem. Which, btw, is more than you’ve done.

And why wouldn’t he be more interested in the agent situation now that is has come and bitten us (potentially) twice? I mean, duh. I have things I want to accomplish, and like everyone else, I rank them in order of importance. When something burns me more than once, it gets moved up the list. A crushing realization, I know.

BAMAToNE

July 21st, 2010
11:26 pm

And oh, look. Georgia’s caught up in this too. I wonder if Richt will suddenly have a “come to Jesus” moment on agents, as well. I mean gosh, he sure didn’t care before, either.

Bob

July 22nd, 2010
12:11 am

Jeff I hate bama and saban as much as everyone not wearing a stupid hat or making creative uses of tide and a TP roll but hes right here, the coaches are not watching players 24/7 and most will say that its not a big deal or they will have someone else drive them down there and pay that person the money just to get a feel for the player.

Agents are sleeze, and pimp is too nice a word for them

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Stringzs

July 22nd, 2010
1:36 am

Jeff..a very well written and well thought out article with the usual dose of sarcasm. Thanks for bringing to the fore the reality behind the “business” and motivations of the people involved.

Jim

July 22nd, 2010
1:46 am

Mr. Schultz, you must feel a great deal of relief having passed this bit of flatulence as a newsworthy story! “Entrapment” may not be the right word regarding the actions of unscrupulous agents. A better word, perhaps, would be “enticement”. Enticement is the act of influencing by exciting hope or desire. These agents are lacking in principles and/or moral scruples when they lure young people into situations that can be detrimental to both the young person and to the University he represents. This seduction to break the law (NCAA rules) must be dealt with in a forceful manner!

Your attempt to ridicule coach Saban for his efforts to address this major problem is contemptible. Your readers will benefit from a lot less of your venomous diatribe, and bit more support and positive input in dealing with these situations.

Randy

July 22nd, 2010
4:54 am

Schultz your a joke. Wonder if you would be saying this if he went to Georgia and brought them a National Championship? Your going to have to get use to Alabama being on top, and Georgia being irrelevant. Nothing is going to change until Richt is out. Until then, watch in envy as Bama continues to beat down the SEC.

Drainage

July 22nd, 2010
5:58 am

Saban = sociopath, the problem, is bammer fans love him for that, just like Bryant.

bamafan

July 22nd, 2010
7:28 am

Jeff – must be a slow day at the office. I guess you are not smart enough to understand that Coach Saban’s reaction is normal. For example, I am opposed to carjacking but I am likely to increase my opposition and raise my voice when someone close to me gets carjacked. Why should this be any different? You and many others seem to resent Coach Saban’s success…….well I guess you have to write something……….you would do better to write an advice column for the lovelorn.

Bill

July 22nd, 2010
7:48 am

WOW! Jeff you went out on limb critizing Saban in Georgia. You must feel like a man. Why dont you grow some balls and critize UGA? You really are a loser with a loser paper. Please go read Finebaum he has more guts than you’ll ever have.

Bill

July 22nd, 2010
7:55 am

Actually I should make the one exception is that I like Barnhart. He really knows college football and is pretty fair in his assessments. Although is a homer he’s not afraid to rattle the cages of the local fan base.

Chi Town eating at Crumpy Burgers

July 22nd, 2010
8:22 am

Saban is the man. When he talks everyone listens.

[...] ♦ Alabama coach Nick Saban was a walking soundbite Wednesday on AgentGate.  He likened agents to “pimps,” and I’m not sure if he was including his own agent, given his past dealings from LSU to Miami (NFL) to Alabama. At one point, he also said, “Maybe we need to not be so self-absorbed,” when it comes to this issue. As several readers responded: Pot, meet kettle. Here’s the link to my column on Saban. [...]

fishtales

July 22nd, 2010
8:37 am

We’ll see how smug ole Shultzie is when A.J. Green is declared ineligible.

Ramma Bamma

July 22nd, 2010
8:38 am

This will all blow over—no big deal. Mark this down—Bama’s getting title #14 in 2010 baby!! Bama blows out florida again for the SEC and beats Ohio State by 10 for the national title. Hard to be humble when you’re a bama fan.

Randy

July 22nd, 2010
8:49 am

Hey Shultz, what, did Saban not want to talk to you, is THAT why you took your worthless and cheap shot? Or is it just Saban envy, like the rest of bulldog nation, wishing you had a coach who could take top 10 recruiting talent and actually WIN with it???????? You should shut your stupid pie hole and notice the response most in this country is giving to Saban’s “rant”; they realize he is right, and are looking for ways to deal with this problem. And for the record you inbred toomerite and dumb dog fans, Saban is a LOT less worried about how Bama will do this season than you clowns should be about how Mark “dumb em down” Richt, or Cheeznip will do this year. UGA last won a NC how many years ago?? 30????? And Tractor Tech?? 1957!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Over 50 years ago!!!!!! Shultz, you cant write worth a crap–but at least take shots at programs who have been, like your writing skills, a failure……………leave the only coach in the last 40+ years who has won a NC with 2 teams alone, you smuck.

Tide Roll in 2010

July 22nd, 2010
9:01 am

All these Bama haters coming out of the woodwork—jealousy and anger drives people to say crazy things. Who cares—Bama wins the title again this year. No team can match Saban’s talent and coaching.