Jimbo Fisher-Nick Saban feud spotlights NIL issues, and it's darn funny | David Whitley

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In case you were trapped in a mineshaft, the big news of the past week was Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher turning into Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

On behalf of a country that could use a good laugh, I’d like to thank our two combatants.

First, their mud wrestling match adds more heat to spotlight on NIL madness. As much as I like players getting a fair financial shake, something needs to be done before a booster pays Arch Manning $50 million for the playing rights to his first-born child.

Beyond that, we have been gifted with an unprecedented sports spat. Coaches simply do not vent like Fisher did after Saban said Texas A&M “bought every player” in its top-ranked recruiting class. Among Jimbo’s Greatest Hits:

“Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how God did his deal.”

“I don’t cheat, and I don’t lie. I learned that as a kid. If you did, the old man slapped the side of the head. Maybe someone should have slapped him.”

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Fisher used words like “narcissist” and “despicable.” He went full mixed metaphor with, “It’s disgusting to what we’re into right now, especially by the people who are throwing the darts who have no glass in their house.”

After Fisher’s scorched-earth press conference, countless coaches, administrators and pundits weighed in on who was right and who was wrong. An anonymous Big Ten assistant summed it best.

“There was like a universal 90 minutes where no one got (bleep) done because they were just laughing their asses off, us included,” he told ESPN.

There’s no real downside to this volcanic eruption. It will fill a million hours of sports talk TV, radio and podcasts over the summer. Fans are already tailgating outside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Oct. 8 showdown between the Aggies and Crimson Tide.

It also might help resolve the seemingly unresolvable pay-for-play issues that are eating college sports. The NCAA, Congress and thousands of NIL lawyers can worry about that. For now, the rest of us can just sit back for now and laugh. ...

Stud of the Week: Sports Illustrated, whose 59th Swimsuit Edition highlights “women in an inclusive range of backgrounds and body types.” The four covers included a “plus size” singer and Elon Musk’s mother, who is four years older than Nick Saban. Beauty truly comes in all forms.

Dud of the Week: Sports Illustrated, for messing with an American rite of passage. Countless adolescents used to spend an entire year anticipating the swimsuit issue and then revel in Christie Brinkley splashing in the surf. It’s not quite the same seeing a 74-year-old leaning on a palm tree. ...

I’d be remiss not to congratulate the chaps at Manchester City for winning their fourth Premier League title in five seasons. Though sources tell ESPN that the club “bought every player” on the roster. ...

Wait, Nick Saban isn't God? ...

Arch Manning's official visits

Recruiting buzz: Five-plus star QB Arch Manning announced his first “official visits” will be to Alabama, Texas and Georgia. Other interested parties should contact his NIL hedge fund manager.

And in big local news, Arizona State’s leading receiver, Ricky Pearsall, has transferred to Florida. I consider it mere coincidence that erstwhile Florida quarterback Emory Jones has transferred to Arizona State. ...

Jimbo II: Fisher said he “didn’t break any laws in the state of Texas” in assembling his recruiting class. True, since Texas law requires every 5-star recruit to be given an oil well and 100 head of cattle. ...

ALERT: On the “Dud of the Week” entry, my computer was temporarily commandeered by a 14-year-old hacker. I apologize to fans of all swimsuit models born during the Truman Administration. ...

L.A. Rams coach Sean McVay is engaged to Ukrainian model Veronika Khomyn. She reportedly posted a photo of her boudoir last week. It showed some fancy bottles of lotion and soap, and a roll of toilet paper with the face of Vladimir Putin on every sheet.

In related news, 500 cases of Nick Saban toilet paper have been delivered to the Texas A&M football office. ...

A punishment a Georgia fan would like?

Prank update: UF police are still looking for the person who dumped red and black paint on the statues of Albert and Alberta. I said last week that the guilty party should be sentenced to watching 1,000 hours of American Cornhole League.

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Loyal reader Brent Walrath emailed that if “it indeed is a Georgia fan, making them watch 1,000 hours of cornhole would probably be a dream come true." ...

I don't want to say Jimbo Fisher rattled the wrong cage, but a plague of locusts has just been spotted outside College Station. ...

Talk about inflation, a Michelob Ultra cost $18 at the PGA Championship. Organizers apparently thought the gallery was made up of Texas A&M football recruits. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Until next time, please don’t lie or cheat. And if you live in a glass house, please don’t throw any darts.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher feud a win for college football