As the head coach with the highest salary in college football and the most national championships in the sport’s history, Alabama’s Nick Saban is routinely asked for his opinions about the game’s most significant issues. At the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., on Tuesday, that was no different, with Saban offering his thoughts about name, image and likeness issues and various big-picture financial topics facing the sport.
Specifically, Saban was asked about the prospect of college athletes unionizing and being treated as employees, a concept he says he supports as a way to combat the inequity created by the varying NIL laws from state to state.
“Yeah, I have no problem with that. Unionize it, make it like the NFL,” Saban said, per AL.com’s Michael Casagrande. “I mean, if it’s going to be the same for everyone, I think that’s better than what we have now. Because what we have now is we have some states and some schools in some states are investing a lot more money in terms of managing their roster than others, and I think this is going to create a real competitive disadvantage for some in the future. And it’s also going to create an imbalance in the competitive nature of the sport, which that’s not good for the sport.”
Saban has won seven national championships—six with Alabama and one with LSU—and has guided the Crimson Tide eight top-five finishes in the past nine seasons. Saban, who earned nearly $11 million in salary last year, said Tuesday that uniformity in the way players were compensated would help bring college football to parity that more closely resembles the NFL.
“Everything they do in the NFL is to create what? Parity. Parity,” Saban said. “And if they could have every team going into the 17th week 8-8, that would be like a dream for the NFL. … Well if you think there’s disparity in college football right now, there’s going to be a lot more in the future.”