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Saban: 'What we have now is not college football'

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Legendary coach Nick Saban wants to be an advocate for college football now that he's done patrolling Alabama's sideline.

"If my voice can bring about some meaningful change, I want to help any way I can because I love the players, and I love college football," Saban said, according to ESPN's Chris Low. "What we have now is not college football - not college football as we know it. You hear somebody use the word 'student-athlete.' That doesn't exist.

"I'm not really looking for a job, but I do know I'd like to impact college football the best way I can, whether it's being a spokesperson or anything else," Saban said.

Saban is slated to contribute to ESPN's College GameDay, among other programming, during the 2024 season.

The 72-year-old stressed that he wants to advocate for athletes. He added that he's concerned for many players' post-football careers if the main focus is on making money now instead of developing skills for later.

"I want to see the players have a great quality of life and be able to create value for themselves. But we've gone to nobody talking about education, nobody talking about creating value for their future, to talking only about how much money can I make while I'm in college."

The seven-time national champion said he would prefer player compensation models be handled by the universities over NIL collectives, but he'd also like to see more commitment from players.

"Just like an NFL player has a contract or a coach has a contract, something in place so you don't have all this raiding of rosters and mass movement," Saban said. "I wonder what fans are going to say when they don't even know the team from year to year because there's no development of teams, just bringing in new players every year."

Kalen DeBoer, who replaced Saban as the Crimson Tide's head coach, said he's excited for Saban to remain involved in the sport outside of coaching.

"Nobody can say it's about him or his team now," the 49-year-old DeBoer said. "He wants to see the game move in the right direction. We need that, and if he can help make that happen, he will leave another legacy that might not go above what he's accomplished on the field but will be far-reaching for everybody in our sport."

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