Did one of the best coaches in college football leave over the issues of greed among the current generation of players? Well, it could be the case, since Nick Saban’s wife, Terry’s words made him rethink continuing to coach at Alabama.

Nick Saban appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday morning to discuss the state of athletes’ earning power in college sports and indicated why he may have called it a day.

In a recent roundtable conference that was hosted by Senator Ted Cruz in Washington, Saban was invited to chime in with his thoughts on how to better the state of college athletics. Saban took the opportunity to reveal the true motives behind his much-talked-about retirement and the conversation he had with his wife.

Nick Saban’s wife Terry asked him “Why are we doing this?”

The roundtable conference that Ted Cruz led was a prestigious meeting where several notable figures from the world of college athletics were invited to help lead a better future for the next generation. Nick Saban was posed with the first question, “What do you think are the biggest challenges with the current Wild West?” He took to the mic and talked about the current state of college football while referencing the NIL policies that have riddled the sport. He then addressed how much these changes affected his decision to retire.

He said, “Well, all the things that I believed in for all these years — 50 years of coaching — no longer exist in college athletics. It always was about development of players, it was always about helping people be more successful in life.” Saban then mentioned his wife’s words that concerned him.

Saban revealed, “She came to me like right before I retired and said ‘why are we doing this?’ And I said what do you mean? She said, ‘all they care about is how much you’re going to pay them they don’t care about how you’re going to develop them, which is all what we’ve always done so why are we doing this?’” Saban said this raised an alarm to him.

The former Alabama coach said, “To me, that was sort of a red alert that we really are creating a circumstance here that is not beneficial to the development of young people which is why I always did what I did. My dad did it. That’s the reason that I always liked college athletics more than the NFL is because you had the opportunity to develop young people.”

Talking further about the NIL deals, he said how it could impact the game’s long term future. He added, “You’re going to create a caste system where the rich will get richer and the poor get poorer, and evntually the fans will look at it like, ‘I really don’t want to watch the game.’”

Earlier in the conference, Saban also mentioned how the state of college football has changed.

Nick Saban addressed the lack of competitive balance in college athletics

During the session, Nick Saban called for a more competitive balance at the college level. He said, “Some kind of a balance in terms of competitive balance uh which all venues have some guidelines and rules that create some kind of competitive balance which right now we don’t have in college athletics.”

“It’s whoever wants to pay the most money raise the most money buy the most players it’s going to have the best opportunity to win I don’t think that’s a spirit of College athletics I don’t think it’s ever been the spirit of what we want College athletics to be so um that’s my major concern,” he added.

Saban’s words will further the beliefs among the fans who think that the NIL policy is here to do more harm than good. Saban joined Alabama in 2007 and led them till 2024. During his 17 years at the helm, he led the team to six national championships, adding to his earlier success with LSU. But now the era of Saban has come to an end.

He retired on January 10 and has cited player empowerment as one of the factors behind his decision.