Now that the NCAA Committee on Infractions has met regarding the Alabama textbook scandal and the documents have been released, it sheds more light on Nick Sabanâ€™s response to the mess.
Back in October 2007, Saban was maligned for saying less about the players and more about the Universityâ€™s problems in the textbook oversight. According to the AP, â€œHead coach Nick Saban said Monday the players used â€˜poor judgmentâ€™ but that the university’s textbook distribution system for athletes also failed the players. â€˜No one at the university wants me to say it, but it’s true,â€™ Saban said in a speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club.â€
Sabanâ€™s response to this problem looks similar to the Universityâ€™s response where the school admitted it failed to monitor the programâ€”in other words the cop fell asleep on patrol.
In UAâ€™s response to the NCAA the school brags about how its new policies should prevent any future problems. â€œThe newly reformed textbook issuance process at the University will better deter wrongdoing and better prevent mistakes.â€
Saban talks extensively about not worrying over things you cannot control. Instead Saban obsesses over what he can control, and Saban along with the University can control preventative measuresâ€”in other words tightening security.
Sabanâ€™s response to academic troubles at LSU should have provided guidance on how he would respond to this problem at Alabama. In his book Saban explained how the academic problems at LSU were fixed: â€œNow, the coaching staff had no idea this was going onâ€”but when we found out, we made sure it wouldnâ€™t happen again. The athletic department made changes in how academic work is monitored, and the university tightened its overview of student-athletes.â€
What came out of that academic trouble? A new director of academic support, moving oversight of the academic-support program to the provost (and getting it out of the athletic department) and a recruiting toolâ€”a new academic support center. If anything, Saban knows how to make lemonade when handed lemons.
Alabamaâ€™s textbook problem and LSUâ€™s academic problem both showcased Sabanâ€™s management style. Alabamaâ€™s textbook issue brings up other issues beyond Sabanâ€™s reaction: how the University allegedly stonewalled release of the NCAA allegation, and the behavior of student-athletes.