The monumental shift that name, image and likeness laws brought to college athletics often came with more questions than answers.
How does it really work?
And how much money is circulating above the table with athletes now able to legally profit from their status?
Nick Saban put a number to it at SEC media days Tuesday in Atlanta.
The Crimson Tide football coach said Alabama players brought in $3 million in NIL money in the first year after the laws and rules changed.
“I’m all for the players being able to do as well as they can and use name, image and likeness to be able to create value for themselves,” Saban said. “We have a great brand at Alabama so their value is going to be enhanced because of the value our brand helped them create.”
Saban previously said that number was made by 25 of the Alabama football players. And before the 2021 SEC media days, Saban told a group of high school football coaches in Texas that quarterback Bryce Young was already approaching the $1 million mark in NIL money before starting a game with the Tide.
The money Alabama players made last year came before the state repealed its NIL law that prohibited the collectives that have become such a part of this shifting landscape.
Saban also hit on the concerns he has with how NIL rules have impacted recruiting, competitive balance and protecting players from the inevitable issues with outside interests entering the fold.
“Don’t think what I’m saying is a concern that we have at Alabama,” Saban said, “because we’re one of the haves. But everybody in college football cannot do these things relative to how they raise money for collectives and how they distribute the money to players.”
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande gold we Facebook.