DESTIN, Fla. | University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, dealing with the possibility of a second graduate transfer gaining immediate eligibility at an SEC school for the second time in three years, has finally reached the point where he sees only one solution.
“Change the rule.”
The question came up in Saban’s afternoon media session at the SEC Meetings in relation to a potential transfer by Brandon Kennedy, a backup center who has listed Auburn and Tennessee as possible destinations for the remainder of his career. An SEC rule would require that Kennedy sit out a year if he transfers within the league, although he has been released by Alabama and could be eligible at more than 100 other NCAA schools.
Saban, speaking to a group of some 25 reporters, said the issue rests with the SEC and commissioner Greg Sankey, not within the Alabama football complex.
“We should change the rule,”Saban repeated. “It shouldn’t be on me. If we agree to have free agency in this year, we should do it — but if we don’t, why is it on me? Why is it on me? It’s not even my decision. It’s a conference rule. Why is that on me?
“I’m asking you guys. You are always asking me questions so I’m asking you and all I get is the brook trout (stare.)”
“If we allow free agency to happen within the league, I think it will benefit some schools more than others,” Saban added. “I think we’re one of the schools that it would benefit. But I still am not for it.”
Saban spent little time talking about personnel or the upcoming 2018 season, spending more of his time on one of his favorite/least favorite topics, the administrative rules of the game and the people who make those rules. Transfer talk was one thing but Saban also went on a mini-rant about a recent NCAA rule limiting football teams to 20 working headsets on game days.
Saban clearly thought the rule was aimed at Alabama and other schools with large numbers of graduate assistants, although he stopped short of specifically saying it was targeting.
Instead, Saban went with a more earthy metaphor.
“I don’t know who is driving all this stuff, but to me it’s kind of like mouse manure when you’re up to your ears in elephant doo doo.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.