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Texas A&M wanted Nick Saban fined, suspended for comments

Emails show Texas A&M's leadership wanted a public apology and multiple punishments for Nick Saban's suggestion that the Aggies "bought every player on their team."

Nick Saban has already apologized for the comments he made nearly a month ago regarding Texas A&M's NIL activities

“I should have never really singled anybody out," Saban said. "That was a mistake and I really apologize for that part of it."

Saban also attempted to reach out to Jimbo Fisher privately, which was declined. 

Asked about it at the SEC spring meetings, Texas A&M's head coach said the spat was over, at least for now. "We’re done talking about it," Fisher said. "We’re moving on to the future. We have a lot more pressing needs than our arguments.”

At the time, though, A&M felt much differently. The hatchet wasn't buried, it was in their hand and ready to be swung.

On3's Andy Wittry on Monday published emails in which A&M AD Ross Bjork, co-signed by A&M president Katherine Banks, pressuring SEC commissioner Greg Sankey to fine and suspend Saban for saying "A&M bought every player on their team."

“Coach Saban’s statement was a blatant violation of SEC bylaws regarding sportsmanship. More significantly, without citing any facts to support his statement, Coach Saban is accusing every, single player in Texas A&M’s recruiting class and current football team of violating NCAA NIL guidelines and Texas state law," the email reads.

“Coach Saban’s statement is false, beneath the dignity of the SEC, and corrosive to the fabric of sportsmanship in college football as a whole and especially within the SEC. We expect the league to take strong, public action against Coach Saban and the University of Alabama to demonstrate that such unprofessionalism and disrespect for Texas A&M’s student-athletes, coaches, and the university as a whole, will not be tolerated. A public apology from Coach Saban to Coach Fisher, Aggie Football, and Texas A&M University is a good starting point, but the league should also consider monetary and participation penalties against Coach Saban."

Sankey was traveling from New York to Birmingham on the morning of May 19, when he learned Fisher planned to hold a press conference. Sankey warned Fisher not to break the same sportsmanship bylaws his school had just accused Saban of violating.

Fisher would go on to call Saban a narcissist, accused him of cheating up and down his career, and suggested someone should slap him

Bjork also granted an interview where he argued Saban violated the SEC's bylaws and also suggested Saban was lashing out because his dynasty, which held a fourth quarter lead in the CFP title game last season, was crumbling.

“The part that is frustrating is to say NIL is the only reason kids are choosing our program," Bjork said. "That is hypocritical, and I don’t know why we are the target.”

The SEC office eventually released a statement on the afternoon of May 19 not mentioning either side by name and, most notably, not suspending and/or fining Saban, despite A&M's demands.

“The membership of the Southeastern Conference has established expectations for conduct and sportsmanship that were not met last night nor today,” said Sankey. “A hallmark of the SEC is intense competition within an environment of collaboration. Public criticism of any kind does not resolve issues and creates a distraction from seeking solutions for the issues facing college athletics today. There is tremendous frustration concerning the absence of consistent rules from state to state related to name, image and likeness. We need to work together to find solutions and that will be our focus at the upcoming SEC Spring Meetings.”

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.