Jimbo says Saban spat over: ‘We’re moving on’

  • Covers the SEC.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of Auburn University.

DESTIN, Fla. — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he and Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke before this week’s SEC spring meetings and set aside their differences after a public spat two weeks ago.

“It’s over with,” Fisher said Wednesday. “We’re done talking about it. We’re moving on to try to fix the problems of what we have in college football. There are a lot more pressing needs than our arguments.”

Saban made waves during a meeting with local business leaders in Birmingham, Alabama, two weeks ago, when he claimed that Texas A&M “bought every player” its top-ranked recruiting class with name, image and likeness deals. Fisher took exception and held a news conference the following day, calling Saban’s comments “despicable.”

Saban’s former offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04, Fisher had said he refused to pick up when Saban called and emphatically stated, “we’re done,” when asked to describe their relationship. Fisher even implied malfeasance on Saban’s part and called on reporters to look into Alabama’s recruiting practices.

But Fisher pivoted Wednesday to emphasize that he isn’t interested in looking back, saying he “made my comment” when asked about his Saban accusations and that “we’re moving onto the next thing.”

Fisher added that he and Saban interacted during meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday and, when asked about the earlier verbal sparring between the coaches, responded with a smile: “You ought to hear a headset. You ought to hear a staff meeting.”

Looking back on their time at LSU together, Fisher said there was no more friction than normal between a head coach and his assistants.

“We were good,” he said. “We had a great relationship, had a lot of success, did well. No issues.”

Saban, for his part, said Tuesday that he has “no problem with Jimbo at all.” The longtime Alabama coach also said he never should have singled out Texas A&M but made clear that he was not accusing Fisher or the Aggies of operating outside the rules of NIL.

Saban attempted to clarify Tuesday that his frustrations are with the so-called “unintended consequences” of NIL and that regulation is needed, saying he hopes “we can sort of put some guardrails on all this.” Florida coach Billy Napier shared Saban’s sentiment, saying, “we’re living in a land with no laws.”

Fisher said Wednesday that the lack of uniformity regarding NIL laws has created a difficult situation.

“The answer is there is no answer,” he said. “But we have to have that uniformity. I’ve said that from day one — how things are done, the way things are done. But instead of going, ‘Ready, aim, shoot,’ we went, ‘Ready, shoot, aim.’ And that’s what’s caused, in my opinion, all the discomfort across the board.”

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