Saban encourages players to stay in school

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (WBRC photo)
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said his advice to star football players is simple: stay in school.

"I strongly suggest to those who are not first-round draft picks that they should stay in school, graduate, and try to become first-round draft picks."

Saban talked to reporters Friday morning after leading the Alabama Crimson Tide to a win over Texas in the BCS National Championship game. Some players, including defensive star Rolando McClain, are considering leaving school early for the NFL draft.  Saban said he tells players to not leave unless they know they will be drafted in the first round.

"The reason for this is if you ever look at the money chart from the first guy picked in the draft to the last, I mean, the money falls off the table from 1 through 30. If you're the 50th guy picked in the draft and you can make $4 million and maybe a million and a half of that is guaranteed, if you can be the 15th guy, you might make $25 million or $20 and eight or ten of it guaranteed, it would be worth it to stay in school and graduate and make the extra $20 million."

Some agents are encouraging players to leave school this spring and go into the NFL draft because of a new salary cap that will take effect next year. Saban admits the salary cap might hurt a few players, but not many.

"This new salary cap thing for next year is going to affect the guys that are picked in the first 10, 12 picks the most, a little bit for probably the next 10, 12 picks and probably not very much thereafter. I know there's a lot of promotions going on out there through agents that tell guys that if they don't come out for the draft this year, they're going to lose out on a lot of money. Well, there may be 25 or 30 guys that lose some money, but the rest of them are not going to be affected."

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