Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban: Using NIL deals to sway recruits 'where I draw the line'

MOBILE, Ala. -- Alabama football coach Nick Saban took issue with the way recruiting has changed now that players are able to profit from their name, image and likeness.

Speaking at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, Saban said he's in favor of players earning money but lamented the unintended consequences.

"When we start using name, image and likeness for a kid to come to our school, that's where I draw the line," he said. "Because that's not why we did this."

Saban said it has become such that players are weighing prospective NIL earnings among schools and "we all gotta make a deal."

"I hear these crazy people on TV who say now you're doing it above board," he said. "We never did it. We never did it. We never cheated to get a player. We never paid players to come to our school.

"And now that's actually happening. People are making deals with high school players to go to their school."

Saban said it's simple: The schools with the most money -- whether through alumni backing or other means -- "have the best chance to have the best team."

"It's not about coaching and developing as much as it is, what kind of money can you make?" he said.

Saban also took issue with the way the transfer portal discourages players from dealing with adversity, as he put it.

"It's great that players have the freedom to do what they can do, but I also don't think we should create circumstances where they don't have the make the commitment and see things through," he said.

While Alabama hasn't been as active as some schools in terms of the transfer market, Saban hasn't shied away from bringing in top talent.

Former Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams became Alabama's leading receiver this season.

This offseason, Alabama has added former LSU All-American defensive back Eli Ricks and former Georgia Tech All-ACC running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Alabama also gained the commitment of former Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton, who went head to head with the Tide during the national championship.

Burton was second among Georgia receivers in yards last season with 497.