Saban alleged Wednesday at a conference in Birmingham that Jackson State paid top recruit Travis Hunter $ 1 million to go to the HBCU and flip his commitment. He also accused Texas A&M of essentially buying players using NIL deals.
Sanders has repeatedly denied that was ever the case. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher also had a fiery response to Saban’s accusations. The Alabama coach later told ESPN he reached out to Fisher and Sanders to try and clarify his remarks. Fisher said he and Saban were “done.” Sanders said he didn’t feel like talking to Saban in private.
“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he’s tried to call. We need to talk publicly – not privately. What you said was public. That doesn’t require a conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation,” Sanders told Andscape.
“You can’t do that publicly and call privately. No, no, no. I still love him. I admire him. I respect him. He’s the magna cum laude of college football and that’s what it’s going to be because he’s earned that.
“But he took a left when he should’ve stayed right. I’m sure he’ll get back on course. I ain’t tripping.”
Sanders said Hunter didn’t come to Jackson State, a Football Championship Subdivision school, to chase a dollar.
“I don’t make a million. Travis ain’t built like that. Travis ain’t chasing a dollar. Travis is chasing greatness. Travis and his family don’t get down like that. They never came to us in search of the bag. They’re not built like that. This kid wants to be great.”
Saban said Thursday he shouldn’t have singled out anyone in his remarks, but remained against how NIL deals are being done.
“Look, I should have never singled anybody out, and I wasn’t saying that either one of those schools did anything wrong,” Saban said. “I didn’t intend it to mean they were buying players, but more that you’re able to buy players now, and it’s totally legal. You’re just using name, image and likeness to do it. What I’m saying is that it’s not good for the game and is only going to get worse unless there’s some federal legislation.”