Did Nick Saban Cheat?

Nick Saban made some comments on ESPN during the NFL Draft that left many wondering if he let slip the fact that he cheated by tampering when he was at Alabama.
Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on before the game
Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on before the game / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft was this past week, and the draft itself may not have been the biggest headline for those across college football.

Legendary head coach, Nick Saban who spent the last 17 years coaching the Alabama Crimson Tide retired back in January and has since been named to a part of ESPN’s College Gameday crew alongside Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Reece Davis and Pat McAfee.

Saban’s first appearance with the college gameday crew actually came a few hours before the draft began as ESPN had the crew provide pre-draft analysis on many of its to players.

What did Nick Saban Say that Alluded to the Fact that Alabama may have Cheated?

One of the top players that Saban analyzed was Toledo cornerback, Quinyon Mitchell who rose up the draft boards throughout the draft process after his fantastic performance at the senior bowl along with the tape he put on during his time at Toledo.

After the Philadelphia Eagles had selected Mitchell, Saban admitted that Mitchell was the top target in the transfer portal last year for the Crimson Tide, but that they could not get him to come to Tuscaloosa. “He was our number one guy,” Saban stated.

Mitchell was drafted over highly touted Alabama cornerbacks Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry who went in the first and second rounds respectively.

Although Saban alluded to Mitchell as the number one target of the Tide, that does not necessarily mean that he cheated, but it sure begs the question. Saying he was the number one target could simply mean that if Mitchell indeed entered the portal the Tide would have gone after him, and that is all Saban meant.

However, when you have been the cream of the crop for so long and envied by so many fan bases, naturally people are going to take a comment like that and run with it. So who is correct? We may never know. Tampering with players in the transfer portal however is known to be a happening across college football. So if Saban did indeed cheat, he would not be the only one.