Alabama coach Nick Saban addresses the Yahoo! Sports report in press conference
On Wednesday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressed the media via a press conference after the Crimson Tide’s practice. Saban took questions/gave a statement regarding the Yahoo! Sports report that five SEC players, including Alabama offensive lineman and 2012 NFL first-round draft pick D.J. Fluker, received improper benefits. The report came mostly from text messages and documents belonging to Luther Davis, a former Alabama defensive lineman who allegedly acted as a runner for agents.
In his press conference Saban covered the following:
• Preparing for Texas A&M, including easing up on the team after practicing hard earlier in the week. Saban repeated the refrain he has been all week, that the team is still trying to establish an identity.
• The importance of maintaining poise and not to get distracted by external factors
• On the article: “I didn’t read the article, I just came from practice. I know [Alabama athletic director Bill Battle] has already made comment on the story. I will say from an administrative standpoint, our people do a fantastic job. I think we have one of the best programs in what we try to do to help our players make good choices and good decisions when it comes to agents. I have full confidence in our leadership we’re going to do whatever we need to do to handle the situation appropriately, and I know that we will. I don’t know anything about current players who would have circumstances related to this. For as high profile players as we’ve had around here, I’m really pleased with how most of them for the most part have managed [...] for the University of Alabama.”
• “We’ve done a lot of investigating about a lot of things. Every time somebody brings something up, we investigate it.”
• “We don’t want our players to do it either. That’s not what our program is built on.”
• “If anybody didn’t do the right things, we’ll take appropriate action to take care of it.”
• “I’m here to coach our players and talk about our team.”
After answering the first question, Saban got visibly frustrated, then said “Don’t ask me any more questions about it.” No reporters asked about A&M specifically, and Saban concluded the press conference by saying, “appreciate your interest in the game.”
Earlier Wednesday, Alabama athletic director Bill Battle released a statement, saying:
“We have been aware of some of the allegations in today’s story and our compliance department was looking into this situation prior to being notified that this story was actually going to be published. Our review is ongoing. We diligently educate our student-athletes on maintaining compliance with NCAA rules, and will continue to do so.”
There was already plenty of attention on Alabama with the team traveling to Texas A&M on Saturday, and the Crimson Tide will be trying to find a way to avenge last year’s loss with this in the background as a noticeable distraction.