‘We’re moving on’: Fisher says public spat with Saban done
DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — The spat between Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban appears to be over -- at least publicly.
A jovial Fisher said repeatedly Wednesday that he was “moving on” from the war of words with his former boss that added some soap-opera drama to the Southeastern Conference’s spring meetings this week.
Fisher said he and Saban had “normal conversations” during two days of meetings with the other 12 SEC football coaches. The coaches covered topics such as future scheduling models for the conference, transfer rules and how college sports can get a handle on the way athletes are compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.
“It’s over with. We’re done talking about it. We’re moving on to the future of what goes on and try to fix the problems that we have in college football,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot more pressing needs than our arguments.”
“We’re done. We’re moving on. I have no problem,” he added.
The next time Saban and Fisher are guaranteed to get together is Oct. 8 when the Crimson Tide hosts the Aggies. Texas A&M upset then-No. 1 Alabama last season in College Station, Texas.
Earlier this week, Saban tried to put to rest the controversy he started. Saban said he never accused Texas A&M of doing anything wrong when talked about the lack of regulation around NIL two weeks ago at a speaking engagement in Birmingham, Alabama. Saban had called out Texas A&M and other schools, essentially accusing the Aggies of buying players.
Fisher responded angrily, saying Saban’s comments were despicable and calling the seven-time national championship winning coach a “narcissist.” Fisher denied is program did anything wrong while landing the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for 2022.
Both coaches received a public reprimand from the conference office.
The SEC spring meetings — taking place in person for the first time since 2019 because of the pandemic —- were the first opportunity for the two coaches to meet face-to-face since the dustup.
“Things were said. We’re moving on to the next thing,” Fisher said.
Fisher echoed Saban’s comments on NIL and what college football needs to bring some order to this new landscape where players can profit off their fame. NIL rules vary from state to state depending on local laws, and the NCAA seems to have little power to enforce its bylaws.
“We’ve got to find some kind of uniformity for the betterment of the game,” Fisher said.
Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne mostly sidestepped questions about the back-and-forth between two of the highest-paid coaches in the country, which included Fisher urging reporters to “go dig into wherever” Saban has been.
“I think Coach Fisher, he was fired up,” Byrne said. “I know we feel very good about our compliance and what we do at Alabama and that’s been in the past and it’s going to continue into the future.”
Fisher was asked multiple times if he regretted laying into Saban two weeks ago.
“We’re moving on,” he said with a smile. ’We’re moving on.”
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