Blog Entry

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

Posted on: December 23, 2010 5:10 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi

Back in September, the NCAA introduced legislation to make it possible for coaches to be suspended over secondary NCAA violations. Naturally, this idea is causing consternation among those in the coaching ranks, as secondary violations are generally regarded on the same level of seriousness as parking tickets. In the NCAA's eyes, of course, that mindset is itself a problem, so down this road we go.

Nick Saban sees all this, and Nick Saban doesn't like what he sees. Here's what he told reporters Tuesday, according to

“I thought originally in our discussions, in some of our meetings, that this was a rule that was going to be sort of implemented for people who had multiple secondary violations,” Saban said. “In other words, there was a disrespect for the rules shown by someone continuing to do the wrong thing. It wasn’t like you had one thing that happened that’s bad … and you could get suspended for a game.”

“I think it hurts the players when you start suspending coaches, so I’m not sure I’m in agreement. But I’m not sure that I have a solution, because we do respect the rules and we do want everybody to abide by the rules,” Saban said. “If this punishment is what’s going to change someone’s behavior, then I think it’s good. But if it’s not going to change anybody’s behavior, then I don’t really think it’s good.”

This is actually a remarkably sane approach to the issue. Punishment for the sake of punishment isn't necessarily a positive response to a widespread problem (see: Drugs, War On). Saban correctly recognizes that if the amount of secondary violations doesn't appreciably decrease, football would be worse off if some number of coaches are suspended than if none are suspended.

Further, it's worth remembering that it's really easy to commit a secondary NCAA violation. Derek Dooley just committed one the other day when he accidentally posted on a recruit's Facebook wall, after all. Arkansas had recruits try on jerseys and is under investigation. In basketball, Tom Izzo caught a one-game suspension for paying the wrong guy to run a weekend basketball camp.

So between this and Saban's inartful (yet not incorrect) comparison of unscrupulous agents and "pimps," it's plainly evident that he has a better grasp on incentives and disincentives than most people. Compare Saban's willingness to examine whether a rule is good or bad based on its evident effects on behavior with this from NCAA president Mark Emmert a month before his arrival with the organization, earlier this year:

"I'm really pleased with how we're working with the universities and colleges to try to correct behaviors that are not in the school's best interests," Emmert said in a phone interview Tuesday from Seattle. "Under my leadership, we're not going to see any diminutive effect of that effort. But I like where we're going right now."

"I can't talk about any [current] cases, but the fact that we've got strong enforcement going on, I think, is a good thing," he said.

Now, we're not about to accuse Emmert of not knowing or caring whether every one of those rules is appropriate for the NCAA. That would be wrong. It just seems that with extremely limited disincentive for, say, an agent to make subtle overtures to a prospective pro or a tattoo shop to offer the hookup to a football player in return for some swag, merely increasing the punishment on players taking advantage of such a relationship isn't going to solve any long-term problems; it'll probably just mean more players get in trouble. And if football suffers when its teams lose coaches to suspension with no effect on behavior, it sure as heck also suffers when more of its players are suspended for doing logical things like selling goods for money.

So while we'll stop short of recommending Nick Saban be the next president of the NCAA, in our estimation, the organization would be better off if Saban takes an advisory role on policy once he decides to take his career in a less demanding direction. Or think about it this direction: if Nick Saban's writing the rules, do you really think Terrelle Pryor or A.J. Green sit for a third of the season just for selling things that were given to them in a transaction that doesn't get the other side in trouble at all?


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:55 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

Awesome currently being going to your web site once more, easy methods to years in my opinion. Specifically in this article that i am silently laid to have so provided.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: December 27, 2010 10:39 am

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

NCAA needs to be disbanded.  I am an Ohio State fan and I believe that the NCAA did NOT suspend the Buckeye players because of the money they, the NCAA would lose.  NCAA does NOT CARE about what goes on at schools as long as the receive their money.  College video games, who makes money... the NCAA and the schools.  Who makes money on the bowl games... the NCAA.  NCAA is a organization that makes millions of dollars a year on young men and women WITHOUT having to pay for their services.  NCAA will come down on schools and yyet allow the coach to ESCAPE without any consequences.  NCAA, if coach A violates rules and school loses scholarships, bowl invites coach A then goes to another school without ANY consequence.  Consequences should FOLLOW the COACH, what happens at last school happens at NEW school. 

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2010 12:23 am

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

 The point wasn't that. The point was that the way the rules read - it doesnt matter if the player knows. And yes I'm too lazy to look through 400,000 pages of rules to find the exact quote. But to paraphrase -
essentially any attempt by any person who has a relationship of some sort with a player (i think father counts), with or without the players knowledge, to act as an 'agent' for that player should result in that player being disciplined. and i don't think it matters if the allegations are made when the player actually ends up at another school where there are no allegations.
  ^As I said too lazy to look it up but I believe that to be the jist of it.
 I am not saying I agree with the rule, just reiterating what it states. Personally I think the NCAA has the goods on Newton and are A) waiting for the fire to die a bit before they bring it out, and B) waiting to make sure they've dotted there Tee's and crossed there eyes.

Oh and frankly for a schmuck Saban makes a a very valid point.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2010 9:38 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

jerbob... Cam's dad admitted that he tried to pimp him to MSU.  There is no evidece yet that he tried to pimp him to Auburn, though.  Yet.

Since: Oct 25, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2010 2:38 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

Not Neutral.
If you say you aren't gay, it can never be proved that you are gay.  No foul.  Allegedly, no out of the closet announcement was ever made as a result of your gay lifestyle by your friends to your alledged gayness. Do you believe that?  I don't. .

Since: Oct 25, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2010 2:29 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

Duckster, I don't know whether you homers are idiots or just plain stupid. the Reggie Bush incident is totally different from the Newton accusation. Bush actually took money and bought upgrades for his vehicle. Bush's parents actually took money and an expensive rental home. There is no evidence that Cecil Newton took anything and absolutely no evidence that Cam Newton took anything or new his dad attempted to pimp him to MSU.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2010 12:48 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

The "Cam Newton didn't Know" finding sets a precedent that can be used by any future top-rated recruit to extort benefits: Simply allow their family member to select their school and stay divorced from the process.  If a player doesn't know, it can never be proved that he does.  No foul.  Allegedly, no payment was ever made as a result of the attempted extortion by either MSU or Auburn. Do you believe that?  I don't. How many other schools were approached with an offer that will eventually turn up.  In view of that fiasco, suspension of players for selling their own property should not be illegal unless its sold to a booster as inflated prices as payola.  What is wrong with getting a free tattoo that leads to a five game suspension.  Something is wrong somewhere that needs to be dealt with using, first, some common sense.    

Since: Nov 18, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2010 12:17 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

Car dealership loans are illegal, and the NCAA is watching it carefully.    One player in the south got suspended for it.   They have their on on this one.   Even $100 bill if you get caught is dangerous.  Rules are tough.  But again inconsistent.

Since: Nov 18, 2010
Posted on: December 25, 2010 12:14 pm

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

It was explained to me that if any family member (such as father/mother, etc) violated rules knowing full well they were doing it, then the player was to be disciplined.   Such the case with Reggie Bush.   Not the case with Cam Newton.   Whether Cam knew or not, he should have had some discipline on his father attempting to pimp him out.
Then tOSU crap.   These guys are plain stupid.    Actually their items were not really their items, but given to them for performances as a part of a larger to speak in safe keeping.   Why do you think that Reggie gave back the Heisman and so did the school??
Pryor and company crapped on their university after receving many free benefits from them, including a top rate education.   Scum!
However, the rulings need to be fair, and since this Emmert guy came in (From Washington so go figure/home of Don James, Rick Neiweisel cheaters), it has been flip floppy. foundation for consistency.

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2010 11:22 am

Nick Saban expresses doubt about new NCAA rules

BTW, my last post was in reply to AUJester00.

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