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OPINION | WALLY HALL: No guardrails in place for expansion, Saban says

by Wally Hall | July 13, 2022 at 3:06 a.m.

Unless he's asked, Nick Saban probably won't mention Name, Image and Likeness or conference expansion next week at the SEC Media Days.

He will be asked though.

When you have won seven national championships, including six in the past 13 years at Alabama, you are the face of college football.

If his shoe squeaks on the kitchen floor, it gets reported. Probably on the front page.

This week, Saban did an interview with Greg McElroy on "Always College Football," and Saban opened up about his concerns for conference expansion.

"My biggest concern is competitive balance. In the NFL, every rule that they have is to create competitive balance. We don't have any guardrails on what we're doing right now. We have no restrictions on who can do what," Saban said. "Some people are not going to be capable. The bottom line is we'll lose some competitive balance, which everything we've always done in college football is to maintain [that]. Same scholarships, everybody had to play by the same rules whether it was recruiting or [other]. Right now, that's not how it is."

Obviously, Saban is a smart guy who puts his brain in gear before putting his mouth in motion.

He's coached on every level, so his experience is unparalleled.

"With realignment, there's a lot of tradition in conferences that will no longer exist. I think we've gone through that to some degree in the past," Saban said. "The Oklahoma-Nebraska game used to be a big game, and they've not been in the same conference for quite some time now. I think mega conferences are probably here to stay."

Saban, nor anyone for that matter, knows how the conference expansion is going to end up, but it isn't over.

Incidentally, a story in the Washington Post gave a clear picture of why UCLA jumped to the Big Ten, which paid its members $46 million last year compared to $19 million by the Pac-12 for its teams.

UCLA isn't just broke, it is more than $100 million in debt. Its previous athletic director, Dan Guerrero, increased staff, payroll and even gave football Coach Chip Kelly an increase from $1 million to $5 million per year.

The aftershock of the announcement UCLA and USC were leaving for the Big Ten has left the future of the Rose Bowl uncertain.

Nick Saban might have something to say about that, if he's asked.


On a personal note, our thoughts and prayers are with Steve Goff and his family on the loss of his mom, Margaret Ann Goff.

Steve was an assistant sports editor for almost 25 years before he was whisked away to be the state editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

He later became city editor and is now the government and politics editor.

Not long after he graduated from the University of Central Arkansas, Steve applied for a job in the sports department, and even though he had to jump through a lot of interview hoops, he was hired on the spot.

Jeff Krupsaw, former assistant sports editor for a quarter of a century (those who worked for him think he has printer's ink in his blood he's so good), said he had found his right-hand man.

And he had.

Steve ran our Fayetteville bureau for several years before moving back to the Rock, so that he could be closer to his parents in Heber Springs.

There has never been a job too big or too small for Steve, a tireless worker whose energy is equaled by his intelligence.

If he has an enemy in the world, then something is wrong with them.

Funeral services for his mom will be Thursday. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a service at Olmstead Funeral Home on Main Street in Heber Springs. She will then be laid to rest at Cleburne County Memorial Gardens in Heber Springs.

Print Headline: Saban: No guardrails in place for expansion


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