Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher go from backstabbing each other to burying an ax as they settle their disputes


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ATLANTA — You should know that Nick Saban and Jimbo Fischer have reconciled, as amazing as that sounds. Not as stunning as The Beef itself, which was the label attached to the offseason’s biggest story.

Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fischer was more than a fight for pearls. It was shocking. It’s actually breathtaking that perhaps the best coach in the history of the game has publicly accused a colleague and former employee of buying an entire class of recruiters.

Add to that the fact that the last Texas A&M course was arguably the best. Ever — by the way, they’ve only been appreciated since the early 1990s — and that only added to the drama.

But the truce was announced on Thursday at the end of SEC Media Days. The powerful couple buried the hatchet instead of burying the hatchet in each other.

“We moved on,” Fischer said.

Saban hinted at the same. They still won’t send greeting cards to each other, but football season is coming up and it’s urgent. The fewer distractions, the better.

The situation had dwindled enough to the point that on Thursday afternoon I asked Fischer point-blank on camera, “How do you feel about the guy you called a narcissist?”

Jimbo: “You’ve never been to West Virginia.”

It was almost the same as that of Saban, a compatriot from West Virginia. Maybe there’s something in the Mountain State’s water that allows mortal fighters to reconcile. In addition, there are constant arguments in the teachers’ room. Discontent is not kept outside the conference rooms in the name of Saturday’s victory. The pair worked with each other at LSU from 2000 to 2004, winning the national championship.

“If you understand our culture,” Fischer explained, “you can hold back, and five minutes later you’re back to business… These are West Virginians. What comes out comes out and you move on.”

Except that it was bittersweet and very public on the national stage. What The Beef showed was the sensitivity of a sensitive subject – recruitment.

Almost everywhere these days, achievements are getting scrutiny, if not worse. A tweet can delegitimize a mere show of hands. But there was no insinuation or parsing of meaning in The Beef. Saban directly said Fischer “bought every player on his team. Made a deal on name, image and likeness.”

It was not in the nature of the buttoned Saban. It was out of this world, really. Fisher shot backdenying the accusation by using the word “despicable” at least six times.

“He’s the greatest ever, huh?” Jimbo said sarcastically.

Blame it on these two powerful coaches who should have known better. But the real fault lies with NIL. Without what has become a name, image and likeness, none of this happens. Fischer agreed on Thursday during his speech from the podium.

“No, there are no rules,” Fischer said. “Each state has its own rules. It’s not just an NCAA case or a national case… It’s just the world we live in because there’s no unification of what’s happening and how it’s happening.”

By a strange coincidence, NIL brought to the board some of the affairs of the game, which were conducted from under the table. Before the NIL, if a coach had to, say, spend too much money on acquiring talent, he would get a phone call.

Stop it or I’ll take you to the NCAA.

There were rules against such things. What the NCAA didn’t catch was sometimes self-regulated by the coaching community. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something.

Now it is No regulation. That’s what annoyed the coaches. As of July 1, 2021, the NCAA is taking responsibility for this issue, which will likely reduce its relevance. Recruiting may have once been a catch-me-if-you-can enterprise. But add fuel, which is the NJL, and a fire flared up fueled by jealousy and hostility.

Tennessee gets a quarterback who signed an $8 million nil contract. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s estimate is close to $2 million. In Louisiana, high school students can get NIL money. Boosters can help with deals. It’s all legal until the NCAA cops say it’s not. Don’t hold your breath on this.

These public figures also put pressure on coaches. The business, which was previously conducted in secret, was exposed through the NIL escalation. This angered fans, who asked their schools and coaches why good old public university didn’t have an $8 million quarterback.

Enter The Beef, which was really ignited when an anonymous internet poster revealed that $30 million had been spent on Aggie’s recruiting class. There is no justification. No confirmation. It was tantamount to gossip, the vomit of Internet words. But he has enough coaches and fans to believe it. could be real. And as we’ve learned these days, sometimes it’s is enough.

After all, maybe Beef was just for fun. Nothing else. He programmed a bunch of sports talk shows for a few weeks. Got clicks. The two multi-millionaire coaches who once shared this staff room, and 2003 Natty, got into it like a schoolboy couple on Twitter. Television ratings of the meeting of the two teams, held on October 8, were inflated in advance.

“It got me fired up and I was ready to play,” said Demany Richardson, Aggie’s bodyguard. “Not only in this game, but just ready for the season.”

Expect more from this junk. There is too much money, too much influence, too much whispering, too much confidence, which makes a lot of people nervous – from truckers to state senators. Some councilors and commissioners still think that Congress will ride a stallion to fix the NIL. Follow this. Regulate it.

But, as outgoing G12 Commissioner Bob Boulsby recently said, you need to come to Congress with written legislation, not ask legislators to write it for you. For beginners. Then try explaining NIL to a regular congressman. Some are fully occupied. Some didn’t care.

All of them are aimed at the medium term, inflation, climate change, war in Ukraine. The thing is, they have more important things on their plate. In college athletics, the NIL became plate.

The current climate is a big reason Boulsby, 70, is happily retiring on August 1st. It’s hard to quarrel with anyone when you’re comfortably relaxing somewhere on the beach.

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