PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban hits out of a small, inch-deep divot on the tenth hole during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Spyglass Hill Golf on February 9, 2012 in Pebble Beach, California. He sucks at golf. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
"Don't blame the shark," said a thousand childhood documentaries about sharks. Sharks are a very important part of a child's education for some reason. Statistically you're more likely to die by pretty much any other cause of death, but we are not a nation of math. We go by our guts, and our guts say that the things our children need to know most about are extinct reptiles, sharks, and sort of vague things about space.
You can't really blame the shark. Not only are they just trying to eat, they're surprisingly fragile. They need food, and have to go all over the place to get it. On the metaphorical highway, this is our offramp to talking about Nick Saban, and about what sharks have to do to keep eating on the recruiting trail, particularly large football animals like the Alabama football program.
The shark in question says the four-year scholarship is no real adjustment.
Saban said he has "no problem" with multiyear scholarships because "they aren't that big of a change." "Most of the conditions are still the same," he says. "The player will still have to be academically eligible. He will still have to obey team rules and regulations. And the player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now.
It probably is not that much of a difference for Alabama, but the wiggling around in the terminology is just a sign of how fragile your well-compensated college football coach really is. This goes beyond Saban. At root, when you strip away the Daniel Moore paintings, the statues, and grown men calling another grown man "Coach," the demands of a few underpowered and overly talented teenagers can change the terms of engagement. This is why coaches drink. This is why they have holes in their stomachs.
These are fragile creatures, the superpredator sharks of our college football ecosystem. They need care. They need protection. They're...walking up the ladder. They're in the boat and walking around asking where the key to the gun locker are and figuring out how to operate the GPS system. Damn you, Saban Shark. We change the rules and you just keep growing thumbs and fangs and laser-eyes and stuff. This continues the worst remake of The Thing EVER.