Photo: Thearon W. Henderson (Getty)

Alabama football coach Nick Saban thinks “the spirit” of college football’s transfer portal “in and of itself is a positive thing for players.” But let’s not get carried away: Lest anyone think he’s completely on board with the idea of players having the sort of agency that, say, coaches do, Saban thinks there has to be limits.

Here’s more of what the Crimson Tide coach had to say on the topic at the SEC’s annual preseason media day:

“The issue with the transfer portal is we’ve gotten very liberal in giving people waivers, so, when we do that, it becomes free agency, which I don’t think is good for college football. I don’t think it’s good for fans.”

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“So, in my opinion, if we’re going to have a transfer portal that’s good for the players, then we ought to have a rule that says, regardless of what happens when you transfer, you have to sit out a year. And now we have, I don’t know—at one point in time there were 65 waivers that were given in a year. So everybody’s expectation is I can transfer and get a waiver. We make commitments to players for four years. They make commitments to us to be in our program. It may not work out for everybody and they may have a better opportunity someplace else, but if they have to sit out for a year, it would be a consequence for them in terms of their commitment.”

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If anyone understands the importance of commitment to a college football program, it’s Nick Saban.