Open Letter to Nick Saban: Give Up Your Loot if Playing College Football Isn’t About the Money

Illustration: Eric Barrow (Shutterstock)

Dear Nick Saban,

And all those other major college football coaches for that matter, trying to bamboozle their players (and those players’ parents) into playing this season during a worldwide pandemic.

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Shame on you.

And somehow, Nick, you had the nerve to tell anybody who would listen that saving the college football season has nothing to do with money.

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Stop it.

You need to put down that playbook and read some big figures on the ledger. The potential losses stand at around $4 billion, if there’s no college football at all this fall.

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You’d have to be a scoundrel to ignore those facts and act as if none of that matters.

The reason the NCAA cancelled Division II and III football is because it didn’t want to pay the money for the number of COVID-19 tests that would have been needed to clear players to take the field.

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Again, money.

Still, with a straight face, you said it was about the kids, not the loot. Here’s your unbelievable quote to the media.

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“This is about the players. Everybody acts like we want to play for the money. We want to play for the players. I want to play for the players. We have a lot of guys on our team that can create a lot of value for themselves playing this season, and we can create a lot of value and these guys have worked really hard to try to create and accomplish something as a team. All those things, to me, are important to the players. And I want to play for the players.”

I nearly threw up in my mouth. And it had nothing to do with my breakfast.

Nick, you left out one part. You want to get paid. And you want Alabama to get paid, too. Bet you probably said at one point, “hell with the fans, there’s all that TV money for the taking.” But that’s the part that was left out of your lame let’s-do-it-for-the-kids speech.

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While many have suffered — both health-wise and financially — from this world-stopping disease, you are sitting pretty. Life has been good for Nick Saban.

For sure, your champagne and caviar haven’t been scratched off the dinner menu during some tough times for many families in this country, including some of your very own players.

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As of July 17, according to reports, you have not taken a COVID-19-related pay cut from your ridiculous $8.9 million salary. Yes, ridiculous.

The kids perform and sacrifice and you get the millions.

And you can sell that NFL dream all you want. Most of the kids who play college football will never get a sniff of the pros. In fact, only two percent — roughly one in 50 — NCAA senior players get drafted by an NFL team.

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When you were talking about players making value for themselves, you are talking about a handful of elite players, not the masses.

But those star players can’t go it alone. They need fodder as teammates and opponents to stack their stats and make the scouts drool about their ability.

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And in the end, the kids will be left holding the bag. They will have played a college football season with so many questions about the long-term effects of this virus.

And since this isn’t about money, Nick, you and all those other fat-cat coaches should give up your salaries for 2020 and form a chubby trust fund for all the players and their families that might need money and medical attention when we find out the full ramifications of the coronavirus.

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Also, make sure no kids sign any waivers to let the colleges off the hook. If it’s safe for the players to be out there, there’s no need for legal paperwork. And if the kids are harmed, the schools should have to pay up down the road.

Sure, most of the kids want to play. We get it. Kids want to go back into the game after an injury or even a concussion. Adults often have to stop the kids from hurting themselves.

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The same here. Most of America has had to take it on the chin this year because of this virus. College football is no different, even with all that money on the table.

Nick, be smart like the Big Ten and the PAC-12. Give up this obvious money grab.

Yours in Sports,

Rob Parker

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