BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
He will tell you he's not interested, but c'mon, man. He will tell you that college football needs a commissioner, a person with knowledge and respect who can assure the sport continues moving forward with integrity. And the more Nick Saban reminds you that a commissioner is needed, the more you realize that the words are coming out of the mouth of the man will indeed be ushered into that post in 2020. Tuesday in Destin, Saban once again called for college football to soon adopt a commissioner, and it's not the first time he's preached it.
Not many people will argue that while the Alabama football coach can be cantankerous and combative, he remains the most respected college football coach in America and one of the most admired coaches in any sport. Behind his playful attacks on the media, his occasional jokes about his golf game, Little Debbie's and Miss Terry comes a man, in my mind, who has been thinking about his next venture for the last few years. Who knows what roams inside of that head, but if Saban coaches four more years and wins one more national championship, he will be ready to do something other than go to the lake and watch the ducks from is Adirondack chair. Oh, he may dabble in TV work and play lots of golf, but this man's drive and ego are too enormous to sit next to Finebaum on more than a single broadcast or traverse a golf course with Steve Hudson.
Saban will be ready to remain in the game as its most powerful player while putting behind the headaches that college football coaching brings. Yep- it will be time for this man to become the first-ever commissioner of college football.
He will tell you he's not interested, but c'mon, man. Saban has been hinting for months that his sport needs a commissioner. In early May, Saban appeared on the Paul Finebaum show and said, "I think we need a commissioner of college football. I think we need somebody, whether it's the five major conferences, who can be unbiased in how decisions are being made about what can and can't get done, and have the best interest in college football.
Just like an NFL commissioner that makes a lot of tough decisions. Sometimes they affect players adversely, but they are always about the integrity of the game and what's best for the game. Whether it's the rules we play by or the way we recruit, there should be some unbiased way with someone in charge of all that.
Want more? Here's Saban talking with ESPN's Adam Rittenberg: "It would be good if there was somebody, and I don't know who (there's the hint, folks), that looked at the game from a thousand feet. Not as an AD, not as a conference commissioner, but somebody who's looking at it from an entire scope."
In late May, Saban chatted with reporters at the Regions Tradition golf event and stressed the need for a commissioner. And just this week at the SEC meetings, Saban urged the sport's powers to contemplate naming a commissioner soon. And who might that be? Said Saban, (here's a another hint) "I don't have a candidate. I'm not in politics. I'm just telling you what I think needs to be done."
He will tell you he's not interested, but c'mon, man. Who in the world is better qualified? Saban has decades of inside knowledge of how his sport works. When Saban talks, college football's top power brokers (including current SEC commissioner Greg Sankey) listen. And I for one know that the man genuinely cares for the game and what the game will hold decades from now. From an inside-the-ropes view of a college coach to his knowledge of rules inside and outside the game, this man is better suited than any to run the college football show.
He will tell you he's not interested, but c'mon, man. He's not interested now because he wants a sixth national title to equal Paul Bryant. He's not interested now because he has an entire football team on his plate.
But keep in mind a few things: Saban's contract expires in 2020 when will be 68 years old. By that time something tells me that he will have had enough of dealing with the hardships of coaching, from the wear and tear of recruiting to babysitting 100 players. From satellite camps to player arrests. From travel fatigue to over-the-top fans. The pressures from expectations can age a coach, and there's no more lofty expectations than those placed on Saban. So come 2020 it will be time. It will be time for Saban to remain in the game as the kingpin of the sport. The ego will continue to be stroked, his sagely advice will continue, and the good of the sport will be guarded by one of the legends of college football. And the best part about it? Saban can do much of his work while at his lake house while casually appearing on network TV and getting in 4-5 rounds of golf a week.
He will tell you he's not interested, but c'mon, man. This one's a no-brainer!