On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) revealed they were working on an effort to establish guidelines at the federal level for the way college student-athletes were compensated for their names, images and likenesses (NIL).
During an appearance on Paul Finebaum's nationally syndicated radio show, also simulcasted on the SEC Network, Tuberville responded to Finebaum's suggestion that he and Manchin were working on behalf of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.
"Coach, we all know what Nick Saban said back in May and how he feels about this," Finebaum said. "You know that state, and as the coach at Auburn, and you only beat Alabama six straight years, so you know the rivalry. Joe Manchin is one of Nick Saban's boyhood friends. So I'm sure from a distance, some are looking at this and saying Nick Saban called his old childhood buddy and his senator from his own state and said, 'bail me out.' How would you respond to those who believe that Nick Saban's fingerprints are all over this?"
Tuberville acknowledged conversations with Saban but said that Saban was not the only one to approach him or Manchin on the topic.
"Well, Nick Saban has called," Tuberville replied. "He's called me several times and Joe Manchin several times. But there are a lot of other coaches, Paul, that have called. There are a lot of other commissioners that have called. I've had presidents sitting in my office where I'm at right now, here pretty much begging for help. They're begging for guidance because, you know, when you have an institution like the NCAA, they're your guiding light. And when they won't make a decision on anything, then everything kind of stays in a state of unknown. And so I guess, you know, it's come to us. And we are the ones up here that can – I don't know whether it's called dictating, but we can put a law to where each state has to do the same thing.
"And if we can get that done, if we can get something that we feel like is going to help college sport, I'm all for it because I don't want to lose what we have. You know, the cat's out of the bag for the money. Hey, I've always been good with that, but there's got to be a way that we can put guidelines in terms of when you can do it, when you can't do it. We don't want to put a limit on any amount of money. That's not what we're here for. We're here, again, to put some guidelines together to help all these coaches, administrators, and fans kind of understand that, you know, we can do it the right way if everybody's on the same page. Right now, everybody's going in all different directions."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.