Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher rift leaves Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin amazed: 'Should have been on pay-per-view'

Saban accused Fisher of buying players to get the top recruiting class for 2022. He said under the pretext of name, image and likeness (NIL), “A&M bought every player on their team.”

Fisher responded by calling Saban a “narcissist” and said people should dig into his past.

Kiffin, who will enter his third season at Ole Miss in the fall, was watching the fireworks from afar.

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Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels reacts during the third quarter against the Baylor Bears in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome Jan. 1, 2022, in New Orleans.

Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels reacts during the third quarter against the Baylor Bears in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome Jan. 1, 2022, in New Orleans. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“First time in my life. (I kept saying), ‘This can’t really be happening.’ I still haven’t moved from my seat. Should have been on pay-per-view,” Kiffin told The Athletic Thursday.

Fisher called for a press conference Thursday morning and tore into the Alabama head coach. Fisher said Saban reached out to him but didn’t take the call, adding “we’re done.”

“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,” Fisher said. “We build him up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody who’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out what he does and how he does it.”

Fisher denied the Aggies broke any rules attracting the No. 1 recruiting class in 2022.

“I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. If you did my old man slapped me across the face. Maybe someone should have slapped him (Saban),” Fisher said.

JACKSON STATE’S DEION SANDERS, TRAVIS HUNTER RESPOND TO NICK SABAN’S ‘LIE’ ABOUT PAYING PLAYERS

Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies reacts after a loss against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium Nov. 27, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies reacts after a loss against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium Nov. 27, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Saban made the claims at a conference in Birmingham.

“I know the consequence is going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players,” Saban said, via AL.com. “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. Made a deal for name, image and likeness.

“We didn’t buy one player. All right? 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.”

Last week, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors approved guidance developed by a group of college administrators clarifying the types of NIL payments and booster involvement that should be considered recruiting violations.

“Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA said. “The definition could include ‘collectives’ set up to funnel name, image and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring.”

Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies talks at midfield with head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium Sept. 22, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  

Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies talks at midfield with head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium Sept. 22, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.   (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The new guidance is effective immediately, but the organization neither changed its rules nor created new ones. The NCAA directed enforcement staff to look for possible violations that may have occurred before May 9, 2022, but to “pursue only those actions that clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.