With NIL completely changing the landscape of college athletics, discussion of how athletic programs utilize it has become a hot topic among sports fans and the media.

Discussion of NIL has even reached the nation's capital, where Nick Saban, Greg Byrne, and several other members of college athletics and US Congress met today to discuss the implications of the current NIL system in collegiate athletics.

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Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussed how NIL is hurting the players themselves, stating:

"We really are creating a circumstance here that is not beneficial to the development of young people.
According to Saban, the problem NIL has created even extends into the NFL:
"I can attest that I have had two NFL coaches tell me, and this is a football deal because they are concerned about the football part. Players come to them, less developed, with more entitlements, and less resiliency to overcome adversity."

Texas senator Ted Cruz asked Saban how much the current state of NIL drove his decision to retire. "All the things that I believed in for all these years, 50 years of coaching—no longer exist in college athletics," stated Saban. "So, it was always about developing players; it was always about helping people be more successful in life. My wife even said to me, we would have all the recruits over on Sunday with their parents for breakfast, and she would always meet with the mothers and talk about how she would help impact their sons and how they would be well taken care of. And she came to me, right before I retired, and said, why are we doing this [...] all they care about is how much you're gonna pay them, not how you're gonna develop them, which is what we've always done. So why are we doing this?"

The current state of NIL in collegiate sports played a major role in Nick Saban's departure from the sport. The current NIL system puts a heavy emphasis on money rather than academic and personal growth.

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"Some of the goals and objectives of what we’ve worked so hard for the last twenty years: to improve graduation rate, to improve healthcare for players, to have mental healthcare for players- all the things we worked so hard to improve on […] we’re gonna start seeing a slide in the wrong direction because we’ve created an environment that really does not promote personal development or success for their future.”

However, despite grievances, Saban still supports the idea of NIL in college athletics. However, to Saban, a controlled system is necessary for the survival of college athletics.

I think name, image, and likeness is a great opportunity for them to create a brand for themselves; I'm not against that at all.  [...] But to come up with some kind of a system that still can help the development of young people, I think, is paramount to the future of college athletics."

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne commented on how NIL is impacting the rest of the sports at Alabama:

"If it weren’t for football, we would not have 21 sports at the University of Alabama. We do not want to see college sports lose women’s sports and Olympic sports." 

Byrne also stated that the University of Alabama lost $40 million on non-football or men's basketball last year.

While NIL is a great concept, it isn't being utilized the way it was intended to. And if anyone can come up with a solution to the problem, Nick Saban and Greg Byrne may be our best options.

For more Alabama Football content from Simon Besnoy, follow him on X/Twitter at @SimonBesnoy and stay tuned to Tide1009.com for daily news

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