Petrino doesn’t like ‘Saban Rule’

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino doesn’t like the “Saban Rule” banning the head coach from visiting schools during the spring evaluation period. If you are keeping score, that makes Saban, Les Miles, Urban Meyer and Petrino who have publically repudiated the rule.

Houston Nutt is quoted in the same story talking about the rule. He said he “could live with the rule,” but enjoyed being out traveling. Is that a political way of saying he supported it?

The story also reveals Bobby Johnson of Vanderbilt as a proponent of the “Saban Rule.”

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  1. 1

    So this narrows it down to Tommy Tuberville, not to single him out though.

    Mark my word, when he bolts to a school like Arkansas (after he loses his first two Iron Bowls, picking up where he left off in 2001 — the year prior to our 5 year period of probation), where he won’t get his ass handed to him, in-state recruiting wise, he’ll be against it.

  2. 2


    Am I right when I say that the “Saban Rule” was actually discussed by the SEC BEFORE Saban was hired at Alabama and then put into effect after last recruiting season? And that the reason it has been labeled the “Saban Rule” is because of all the ACCIDENTAL encounters Saban had with players last year?


    I’ll be happy to mark your words as long as you mark mine….This time next year Auburn will be working on #8 and the suicide hotline in West Vance will be busier than ever!!!

  3. 3

    I think it was dubbed the Saban rule because it just sounds good and sells newspapers. 😉

    I understand that the SEC coaches voted against the rule when it was previously proposed, but coincidentally after Saban’s first year back the rule gets approved by the conference coaches.

    The rule is probably more directed at Urban Meyer than Saban to be honest—Saban just gets more negative national press.

    I don’t know for certain, but I’d bet the coaches voting for the Saban Rule were: Tuberville, Spurrier, Fulmer, Nutt, Croom, Brooks, Johnson and Richt.

    Each person voting for the ban has a specific agenda at play.

    Tuberville wants to limit what Saban and Meyer can do. Auburn needs help in Florida and Alabama—so anything to level the field between Tuberville and Meyer and Saban would be helpful. I think it hurts Tuberville more, but that’s another topic.

    Spurrier would rather be golfing that working.

    Fulmer would rather be at Krispy Kreme.

    Croom, Brooks and Johnson are at the worst schools in the conference (traditionally). They are at a disadvantage compared to the celebrities they face on the recruiting trail. Again, the belief is keeping the big names off the road would help them. I believe the reverse is true—it probably hurts these schools most because they need the extra evaluation time to find the diamonds in the rough.

    Who knows what motivates Nutt.

    As for Richt, I’m just theorizing, but I’d guess he knows he owns Georgia so it would slow down Saban and Meyer and Tuberville from working in his state. It would be to his advantage to limit the intrusion of his rivals.

  4. 4


    I think the Bammers dubbed it the “Saban Rule” in case it hurts their recruiting:)

    I don’t think it was coincidence at all. From what I have read, the 1st time the rule was discussed was because Meyer was pushing the limits pretty hard. Then here comes Saban back to the SEC and instead of pushing the limits…he erases the line and draws his own. Here’s a question for you : If Shula were still at Bammer and Tubby went down to S. Fla. and did the same things that Saban did would you like the new rule more?

    So what your saying is that the MAJORITY of the coaches voted for the rule change? By the way, I already know the answer to that question:)

  5. 5

    It was the media that dubbed it the Saban Rule. Ray Melick was the first to use the term in print, from there blogs picked it up and national media members got it from blogs.

    According to SI, out of 114 coaches in the Coaches Association, only 14 voted against the rule change. So, this was a national trend of lazy coaches. There was a great line from SI: Expect the Carrolls, Zooks, and Sabans of the coaching world to keep devising ways to reach players in spite of their colleagues’ attempts to stymie them. Because while the rule may prevent some coaches from being outworked, it won’t keep them from getting outsmarted.

    Your allegation is that Saban ignores the rules. I’d like to see some proof of that. He’s served on the NCAA ethics committee and rules committee. Maybe he knows the rules better than others. That’s why he outsmarts them. 😉

    BTW, there are allegations saying just about every SEC coach has violated the bump rule or something else. It wasn’t confined to Saban…or Tuberville or Meyer.

  6. 6

    I didn’t make an allegation…I was just repeating what was said numerous times last year. I was mainly referring to the encounters Saban had with recruits during non-contact periods last year.

    No need to get all huffy and puffy. Maybe Saban does know the rules better than everyone else in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD or maybe just maybe he ignores the rules when it better serves him. I don’t know the answer to that and neither do you.

    Also, I don’t doubt one bit that every coach in the SEC has comitted some form of a violation. The main issue is how often do they commit the same minor violation? IMO the Saban Rule was instituted because a pattern was beginning to form with some coaches. Notice, I said that this is my opinion and others in the media have expressed the same opinion.

    I do find it funny now that Saban is at Bammer that Tubby is all of a sudden lazy. I seem to remember that everyone had always labeled him as a very good and hard working recruiter before that. Could it just be that last year all the stars were aligned for Bammer to have a great recruiting class or is Tubby really lazy now? I think I am going to wait and see before I make a premature judgement……

    By the way, you didn’t answer my question regarding roles being reversed:)

  7. 7

    Mike, despite the fact that you are a Barnie, you know this just as well as I do, Tuberville could’ve stayed home during the recruiting season, and still have reeled in a better recruiting class than Mike Shula, with our without the chains of oppression (aka NCAA sanctions).

    You also know as well that 99.9% of the time, Alabama will always own API in recruiting. That’s the way it has been and that’s the way it’ll always be. You guys HAVE done us in over the past few years, but the reason being is obvious: P-R-O-B-A-T-I-O-N!

    From here on out, at times we may run neck and neck, but Alabama will always win the recruiting war. I’m not making any attempts to argue with you. I’m just speaking the simple facts. Same goes with other states like Georgia and Tennessee.

    With that being said, just because we out recruit you, does it mean we’ll beat you every single year? Absolutely not. But don’t you think our chances of winning one every now and again are a lot higher than they were previously?

  8. 8


    You bring up some good points.

    Matter of fact….Alabama has out recruited Auburn the last 5 years (look at the avg team recruiting rankings for Scout and Rivals for the last 5 years). So, you are right…just because Bammer out recruits Auburn does NOT mean Bammer will beat Auburn (see 6 IN A ROW).

    That brings me to my next question…How can you blame probation when Bammer has out recruited Auburn during that time frame?


    Here’s something for you to write about…

    Why do Bammers constantly use the excuse “lack of talent” when they have out recruited Auburn (on avg) for the last 5 years?????????????????

  9. 9


    We HAVEN’T won the recruiting war against you since 2002. But before that, we normally did and we also normally won (8 out of the 12 prior to 2002). Here are the rankings according to since 2002:

    2002: Auburn finished 11th in the nation, Alabama finished 37th, behind Ole Miss!

    2003: Auburn finished 16th, while Alabama finished 45 BEHIND OLE MISS ONCE AGAIN!

    2004: The only year in which we truly defeated you throughout our embarrassing stretch. We finished 19th with a 2.68 average star ranking, AU finished 31st with a 2.30 ranking.

    2005: We were in fact ranked higher, but our average star rating was 2.83, Auburn’s was 3.05. We simply recruited more players overall than Auburn did.

    2006: Auburn finished 9th, Alabama finished 18th.

    So I can see why Auburn winning by a hair after having Alabama played them down to the wire may seem “illegitimate.”

    But just remember, we won before then when we outrecruited you. And you guys won during a period in which we couldn’t help how terrible we recruited, but you only won by an average of 8 points or less.

    Now, it’s a different ball game and you’ll see the true results before long and this case will be closed.

  10. 10

    I never said anything about 2002. I pulled the avg for final recruiting rankings 2004-2008 from both Rivals and Scout. In that time period:

    Bammer have avgeraged

    Scout #15 Rivals #11

    Auburn has averaged

    Scout #17 Rivals #14

    I know that you are going to argue that this past years class should NOT count, so throw out 2008 and look at the #’s. They are still very very close.

    The simple fact is that Bammer has talent and they have had talent…they just haven’t done anything with it. Now the Bammers are using the excuse that it’s not Saban’s players…well that is true, but Shula brought in Top 20 classes his last 3 years and Saban had a top 10 class in year 1.

    Seriously, how can you say that Bammer is short on talent when Shula won 10 games 3 years ago? Shula won 10 games in 2005 after bringing in classes ranked #37, #45 and #19….what is the problem now???? All those kids from 2002 and 2003 are gone and Bammer has brought in Top 20 classes since then!!!

  11. 11

    RhYno, just let Mike enjoy his moment in the sun. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never speak sense into an AUtard. Just remember that in two years (possibly after this year’s Iron Bowl), we’ll never hear from him again–at least up until another API streak surfaces, which will likely be 30 years from now, immediately following ‘Bama’s next downfall.

  12. 12

    The problem with that average is it is really problematic to include the most recent classes. The 2008 class hasn’t even hit the field yet, and the 2007 class for both Alabama and Auburn saw limited action.

    If you look back at 2002-2007 as SMQ’s analysis did, you see Auburn’s recruiting rank was ahead of Alabama.

    That said, Shula’s classes weren’t all bad. Toward the end his classes were pretty decent. He just didn’t work as hard as he should (he was lazier in Mobile than anyone!)

    Now this is something that I’ve said a couple of times before, last season Alabama’s offense SHOULD have been the best in the conference. At skill positions, and on the offensive line the team had the makings of a superb unit. It wasn’t due to hangover from Mike Shula (the guys were awfully out of shape), bad attitudes (some guys just didn’t want to work), and bad coaching.

    The last part…the coaching part encompasses a host of things from handling the transition to problems with the OC and the offensive game plans to the players.

  13. 13


    I agree that there are problems with the avg class rankings. To really get an accurate read on current talent level on each team you would have to figure in academic casualties, players leaving early for NFL, players kicked off for discipline, etc…but I really didn’t have the time to go through all that. I also understand the 2008 classes haven’t even seen the field yet. AS for the 2007 class, I’m not sure how much playing time those kids have seen at Bammer, but the 2007 class at Auburn has seen extensive playing time (at least the kids that qualified and made it to campus).

    My whole point was that Shula ended with 3 top 20 classes and Saban had a top 10 class in year 1 recruiting (after replacing Shula). So, with 4 straight Top 20 classes there is plenty of talent at Bammer. The loss of scholly’s hurt no doubt, but when did that end?

  14. 14


    Wouldn’t you say a lot of our offensive struggles last year was due in large part to erratic play calling?

    If you go back and watch the Colorado game, you’ll notice the play calling differed in the first half compared to the second.

    Erratic play calling has been an issue for quite some time, now. Hopefully the solution to that problem is Jim McCellwen (Sp?).

  15. 15


    If you’ve noticed one thing about Alabama, yes we have fielded top 20 classes in the past 3 or 4 years, when’s the last time we’ve been “blown out?”

    I understand a loss is a loss, but this past season, each of our losses totaled up to be by 7 points or less.

    I somewhat understand your point, but one of our major downsides is finishing the game we started. Again, there’s no argument in the fact that we could’ve and should’ve won those games. We just basically received the wrong end of the stick. You guys are pretty much the opposite; you guys manage to pull out all the tricks to gain you the win in the end. Alabama hasn’t been a bad team over the past few years. We just haven’t been able to seize the moment and capitalize on opportunities.

    Another perfect example is the LSU squad of 2007, Auburn, Florida and Alabama should’ve beaten them last year. But they lucked up in the waning seconds of the game and snatched the win right out of our hands.

    There’s no doubt Alabama will progressively improve with time. Games we should win, we should win; and tossup games should be played until the end.

  16. 16


    I agree that a lack of depth could be the reason for losing close games. IMO it could also be linked to coaching. Not saying that Saban is not a very good coach, but he and his staff made some questionable calls last year. A couple of those calls turned out NOT to be costly, but at the same time some of them did.

    I would have to disagree that Auburn was just the opposite. Granted, Auburn beat UF, Arky and KSU at the end of those games, but lost close games at the end to LSU, MSU and USF.

    If I were a Bammer, my main concern would be the ULM, Houston and Colorado games. Especially, the Houston and Colorado games when Bammer blew such big leads.

    There’s no doubt that Bammer will improve over time…I’m just not sold that Bammer will be as great as some on here predict. I could see them being SEC contenders in a few years, but the SEC is an even bigger monster today than it was last year!!! Also, Saban has a history of losing some games that he shoudln’t, much like Tubby.

    Turning the focus to Auburn…I am worried that Auburn may have missed it’s best chance for a NC because of the same reason as above. “Give me” games in the SEC West are going to be hard to come by in a few years.

    Can you imagine how bad it must suck to be Sly Croom now?

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