On Monday, the Alabama Crimson Tide coach organized an inner tube demolition derby behind his boat for Leadership Day on the lake, launching football players into the air and trying to keep their shorts from falling in.
The coach and his wife visited Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital on Tuesday and gave out talking mechanical ducks. Saban, a local pitchman for Nick’s youngsters projects, took use of Aflac’s more than 23,000 domestic and international donations to support sick youngsters.
Saban’s visit to Washington DC’s greatest circus on Wednesday will benefit from the past three days’ perspective. Saban, other Southeastern Conference coaches, and league commissioner Greg Sankey will press Congress to stabilize collegiate sports.
Most collegiate sports laws in the 11 SEC states were designed to benefit their schools.
“I think that the whole idea is, we want to provide information based on our experience, so that maybe people that are involved in the House and Senate both sort of have an idea of what the issues really are and how it can impact and affect college football in the future,” Saban told The Associated Press at Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I think if we can get more people aware of the issues for them to have input on how we can sort of create a model that would help create some competitive balance but still give people opportunities to use their name, image, and likeness to earn, I think that will be a good thing.”
Like the hospital and house dedication, Saban doesn’t have to be there. He doesn’t need to take the players out on the lake either, but in all three occasions there was more than just enjoyment. Alabama will likely survive NIL.
Saban has long warned that college football’s present trajectory will reduce competitive balance. It’s easy to suggest that the NCAA caused this situation by not being proactive, but things have swiftly escalated and will only get worse.
At the SEC spring meetings, Saban said, “Is this what you really want?” as a warning.
College sports are near collapse. Maybe close. That may not be a terrible thing, and many big schools and top conferences may leave the NCAA and start something new.
Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff asked U.S. Senators for aid on Capitol Hill a year ago. Before USC and UCLA left for the Big Ten, leaving yet another league in doubt. The ACC nearly collapsed last month, leaving everyone wondering what’s next.
The actual motive for the Washington trip. Next year, we’ll be well into a presidential race, when Congress won’t move on NIL, and no one knows what college football will look like.
The SEC is introducing Saban and other big-name coaches to draw attention, be bolder, and show urgency.
Saban might bring ducks.