Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ‘Done Talking About’ Feud with Alabama’s Nick Saban

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Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ‘Done Talking About’ Feud with Alabama’s Nick Saban

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Texas A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher
said Wednesday he’s “moving on” from his feud with Alabama
counterpart Nick Saban.

Fisher told reporters his focus has
shifted to college football’s “more pressing needs” as it tries
to evolve in the name, image and likeness (NIL) era:

Brandon Marcello @bmarcello

Jimbo Fisher on him and Nick Saban’s NIL beef: “We’re done talking about it,” and says there are more pressing issues to discuss. Texas A&M coach was also asked about the accusations he made about Saban. pic.twitter.com/YrNBAEgkR6

The verbal exchange began May 19 when
Saban said “A&M bought every player on their team” since NIL
deals became available following a Supreme Court ruling last June
that barred the NCAA from limiting payments to student-athletes.

While it was just the latest in a long
line of comments the longtime Bama coach has made questioning the
direction of college sports in the NIL era, it was also his most
direct rebuke of any program’s specific use of collective pools—each program’s money available for endorsement deals—to attract
recruits.

It drew a strong response from Fisher,
who described Saban as a “narcissist” and urged people to dig
into Saban’s past.

“Some people think they’re God. Go
dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about a guy that a
lot of things you don’t wanna know,” Fisher said. “We build him
up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody
that’s ever coached with him.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issued a
public reprimand against both coaches, saying they didn’t meet the “established expectations for conduct and sportsmanship.”

On Tuesday, Saban apologized for
singling out Texas A&M in his prior remarks, but he didn’t
retract the allegations and instead refocused his ire toward the NIL
environment.

“I didn’t say anybody did anything
wrong,” Saban said.

The situation generated ample headlines
not only because the coaches are currently rivals in the SEC, but
also because they worked together at LSU in the early 2000s.

Saban was the head coach of the Tigers
from 2000 through 2004, and Fisher was his offensive coordinator for
all five of those seasons.

Brody Miller, Bruce Feldman and Matt
Fortuna of The Athletic reported there were a lot of issues between
the pair during those years despite the on-field success, which
included the 2003 national championship.

“There was [friction] all the time,” one source told The Athletic. “Will [Muschamp] and Kirby [Smart]
and all the defensive guys all bowed down to Nick, but Nick depended
on Jimbo a lot. But Nick is so hard on his [offensive coordinators].
They were always at each other’s throats.”

Another added: “Oh, it ain’t like
Nick and Kirby. There is no love lost between Nick and Jimbo—at
all.”

Two decades later, those lingering
frustrations appeared to re-emerge in recent weeks.

Fisher’s comments Wednesday may push
the tension to the back burner for awhile, but the topic is
sure to return ahead of the Oct. 8 clash between the Aggies and
Crimson Tide.

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