Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that he wants to continue to use his platform to reform college football, even in retirement. The 71-year-old coach feels that the sport’s identity has shifted drastically since his career began in the 1970s.

“I’m not really looking for a job, but I do know I’d like to impact college football the best way I can, whether it’s being a spokesperson or anything else,” Saban told ESPN. “Listen, I’m for the players. It’s not that I’m not for the players. I want to see the players have a great quality of life and be able to create value for themselves. But we’ve gone to nobody talking about education, nobody talking about creating value for their future, to talking only about how much money can I make while I’m in college.”

Saban is referring to the NCAA’s changes to NIL guidelines, which now allow college athletes to receive compensation for their names, images and likenesses despite their amateur status. While many view the change as necessary and fair based on the amount of attention college sports receive, the NCAA has also been criticized for failing to properly regulate the new policy in its early stages.

Alabama’s former head coach obviously has feet in both camps, as Saban advocated for players in his comments while also calling for reform in different areas. The seven-time national champion repeatedly poked holes in the current state of the “student-athlete,” arguing that college athletes are not being adequately prepared from an academic standpoint.

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“I think the consequence of this could come down the road when some of these guys get 28 and 29 years old that maybe they didn’t prepare themselves for when they can’t play football anymore, which is what you should do when you go to college,” Saban said.

Saban is not the only one saying this, but his reputation in college football makes his calls for a culture change more credible. In June last year, he was a leading figure in an SEC delegation that traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss NIL regulation with federal legislators. He could continue to serve as an authority of this stature in retirement.

“It’s one thing to come up with a solution,” Saban said. “It’s another thing to implement it. I’m just here to help.”

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