Alabama football coach Nick Saban denied that anyone associated with his program broke any tampering rules in landing Louisville WR Tyler Harrell from the transfer portal.
Louisville’s Scott Satterfield made the tampering accusations last week when he implied that something was happening in regards to a few of his former players who had entered the portal.
“I think it’s not only [Harrell]. It’s happened before here. Last year, we had a few guys that jumped into the portal and the next day they’re announcing where they’re going. You can look at that and know that something went on before they were in the portal,” Satterfield said.
The talented wide receiver entered the portal in April and committed to Alabama ten days later. At the Regions Pro-Am Wednesday morning in Birmingham, Nick Saban denied any involvement in tampering of any kind, including with Harrell.
“I don’t know of anybody that tampered with him. You know, I don’t really know that anybody’s ever tampered with our players. I just think sometimes when things happen it makes you wonder. So I’m not making any accusations against anybody that’s done anything to our players, and I don’t have any knowledge of anybody that’s done anything with anybody else’s players.”
The college football community is currently treading in uncharted territory with the transfer portal and NIL, but it’s also dealing with people on the outside trying to influence players to seek other opportunities. This leads to third parties getting involved and becoming part of the transfer process for some players. But even Nick Saban knows that you cannot control everybody, including those who might not have the program’s best interest at heart.
“But you know, when you have a guy leave your program and go someplace else the day after the game, I don’t have any evidence that anything happened and I’m not making any accusations, but it makes you wonder, I guess,” Saban added. “But hopefully we have enough honesty and integrity out there amongst us professionally in our sport that people are going to abide by the rules.”
It is extremely hard to keep outside influences from infiltrating a program, with some looking to move players around for financial reasons. The transfer portal has become an easily exploitable tool for highly touted athletes, and there isn’t much the NCAA is doing right now to stop it.
The changing landscape of the game has brought out different areas of concern for college football, with the transfer portal and NIL in the driver’s seat, and coaches have to adapt and deal with these things, whether they like it or not.
As for the tampering part, good luck trying to control that aspect of the game, given how many connections these student athletes have with other schools.