Thursday, November 25, 2010

Departed players accuse Saban of distorting the facts

Here's the next installment of the Wall Street Journal's examination of Nick Saban's recruiting tactics.

The Alabama coach brings in more players every year than just almost any of his peers. That means, it's an annual mystery in Tuscaloosa which players will be leaving for the team to meet the NCAA's 85 scholarship rule.

The Journal's earlier story talked about Saban's practice of offering players medical redshirts, which means they can stay under scholarship but can no longer play football, or count against the 85 number. One of the few players highlighted in that story said he could still have played. Others said they were disappointed their careers were over but felt fortunate to stay on scholarship.

The most recent story focuses in on four players whom Saban said left the program because they broke the rules. Three dispute that notion, but all ran afoul of the coach -- either through academic or discipline problems -- during their stays at Alabama.

One other note. They're free to talk. Given the student- privacy rules under which universities operate, Saban is more limited in what he say, though it was the coach who described the kids as breaking the rules.