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Lane Kiffin on NIL, Nick Saban: 'He might double his championships'

James Fletcher IIIby:James Fletcher III05/25/22


Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has always been quick to voice his opinion, especially when it comes to the subject of his former boss Nick Saban or the current use of NIL in recruiting. With a story about the two things crossing paths, he could not help himself giving some interesting quotes about the future of college football in the changing times.

During an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, Lane Kiffin provided a shocking outlook on the later stages of Nick Saban’s career as NIL continues to take shape.

“People always ask me when Nick Saban will retire,” said Kiffin. “Before, I said, ‘Not for a long time.’ He’s driven and he works like he’s 30. Now, it’ll be never. Why would he? You get the best players, have free agency to pluck the best players. He’ll be there forever. He might double his championships.”

Lane Kiffin on Nick Saban

Lane Kiffin often offers high praise for Nick Saban, but as he describes the outlook for Alabama in the new era of college football, there appears to be little hope for the chasing pack.

“If you’re Alabama, how does your gap not continue to widen,” asked Kiffin. “If you have NIL, you can get the players. You were already signing No. 1 classes. Now there’s a money factor involved, and you have top resources for that and you have the portal so you are replacing. If you have holes anywhere with guys leaving, they’re just going to replace them. You see them doing it. Here’s the best players out there not playing at Alabama. They can come take these spots.

“Take professional sports. [Imagine if] instead of winning and drafting at the end, you win and draft at the top. You are Team Whatever and you draft in the top five every year and get a higher cap than everybody you are playing against, and in free agency, you get the first pick by using your higher cap. How is that not going to separate?”

As Kiffin speaks about the potential separation created by the system, it strikes a much closer resemblance to how international soccer works than any of the domestic leagues like the NBA, NFL or NHL. The half exception comes with the MLB, which does not have a salary cap but does provide the worst teams the top draft picks even if international free agents sign at top teams.