‘Yea Alabama!’ New Fan-Based Collective With Rewards Launched – Could A $5,000 Dinner And A Movie With Nick Saban Be Next?

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How much would an Alabama fan pay for dinner and a movie with football coach Nick Saban?

Or just dinner?

It could happen.

The University of Alabama launched “Yea Alabama” on Thursday as its official Name, Image & Likeness entity “to connect fans, donors and businesses with Crimson Tide student-athletes to facilitate NIL opportunities,” a release said.

This is another example of the NIL movement legitimizing and updating boosters slipping $100 bills to football players after a big game via the handshake or under hotel doors back in the day. Only this is a brilliant idea that appeals to the Every Man, aka Joe Fan as well as the mega boosters. Much better than many of these ridiculous collectives promising checks they can’t cash.

Statue of Alabama coach Nick Saban outside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty Images)

Everyone can be a booster, and it’s legal.

And like most great ideas, it is so simple. Alabama will literally be opening mail with checks. Venmo mobile payments will be “rolling” in.

Also like most great ideas, one of the first thoughts about it is, “Why didn’t I (or another school) think of that?” Alabama is not the first to do this. Tennessee has a similar one as do others. But Alabama has arguably has THE fan base, featuring millions of fans who go around proclaiming “Roll Tide” as if it is a tribal hymn.

Alabama Fan-Based Idea Is Simply Brilliant

What better way to create a new revenue stream for recruiting than by feeding off these Bama fanatics (which is the long version of the word fan) who are so fervently and feverishly attached to their program for life?

It is fitting that one of the most ravenous and annually most satisfied fan bases (six football national championships since 2009) has tapped into this model. Plus, the Bama base is a little hungrier than usual at the moment as it has been fasting for going on three years now since the last national title in the 2020 season. And neighboring Georgia has won two straight with a former Bama assistant. I can hear the money clicking in now.

Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer once said he had to regularly “feed the monster,” referring to that fan base. He satiated the Sooners with national titles under Switzer in 1974, ’75 and ’85, but that only made them want more.

Saban has been feeding the Bama Monster a national championship regularly since 2009 with only two seasons the largest span without a title. Yes, in 2023 he’s due to keep that going. But somebody’s got to pay for this No. 1 class he just signed.

Now, the Bama Monster fans can pay the Crimson Tide Football Monster. Everybody’s fed and happy.

“Subscribers of ‘Yea Alabama’ have the opportunity to gain access to exclusive fan experiences, content, marketing opportunities and more with 100 percent of subscription feeds going directly to Alabama student-athletes,” the release says.

Alabama Fans Can Send Money Directly To Athletes

You pay, and the athlete gets it all. Now, it might not go to a football player. The money could go to a women’s basketball player or softball or women’s tennis player. But football, men’s basketball and baseball players do have most of the NIL deals, so do the math. Alabama has.

“Every Bama Fan’s Behind You,” proclaims the www.yea-alabama.com site. Yea Alabama also includes a path for major donors and businesses.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne on the sidelines at a Crimson Tide football game. (Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Yea Alabama’s approach is both cutting edge and sustainable in an ever-changing NIL environment,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne says in the release. “Having one platform that allows supporters, subscribers and businesses a place to engage is so beneficial.”

Interesting choice of word by Byrne with “sustainable.” Saban repeated in the early months of NIL in the fall of 2021 that collectives and big booster payments were not sustainable over time. Byrne made a similar comment at the spring meetings in Destin last May. Collectives are having issues across the country. Check Florida’s failed collective effort for quarterback Jaden Rashada.

“There is a reason most rich people are rich,” Byrne said. “They’re smart, and they’re not going to continue to pay money into a system that is not sustainable.”

But Yea Alabama could help Alabama’s NIL plans stay sustainable because it will prey on the hearts and wallets of fans. Those, particularly at Alabama, sustain through generations.

I see a televised fund drive on statewide television in Alabama a month before signing day, or the night before the next NCAA Transfer Portal period opens. Or start one right after Alabama wins a national championship. Do drink and donate.

How The ‘Yea Alabama’ NIL Food Chain Breaks Down

The Yea Alabama food chain is tiered with the entry level at $18 a month, or $216 a year. Alabama appropriately calls this the “Starter.” This gets fans membership in “Yea Alabama,” a car decal and “access to exclusive content.”

Interesting. Wonder if injury reports will be part of that content? How about depth charts? Will Alabama’s athletic department be getting into the newsletter business? That was big in the 1980s. So, this plan has a retro element to boot.

The next tier is “All-Conference” at $75 a month or $900 a year. This gives members all of the above along with autographed memorabilia and “invitations to exclusive events.” Dinner with the Sabans? How about entry into a coaches’ staff meeting the week of the season opener against Middle Tennessee?

Next up is the “All-American” level at $150 a month or $1,800 a year. This grants all of the above plus “invitations to exclusive and engaging experiences with Alabama student-athletes.”

That sounds like a date. Just kidding. But I know you’re thinking about Olivia Dunne. Probably closer to a postgame sit-down with football players after the win over Middle Tennessee.

“Yea Alabama is an exciting new resource to help Crimson Tide student-athletes create value for themselves through a variety of NIL opportunities,” Saban says in the release.

In other words, nothing helps like cash.

“The Alabama brand is one of the most powerful in sports,” Saban said.

And the state of Alabama may be one of the poorest in the nation, but I can see Crimson Tide fans doling out money for their beloved team and brand even if it could mean less for their own children. I never understood mega rich boosters paying cash to athletes they don’t really know just so their team and school will win. Why not use that money for somebody they know – like their children? Now, everybody can do this, regardless of income level.

Yea Alabama’s ‘Hall Of Fame’ Tier Ha$ Endle$$ Po$$bilitie$

The fourth tier is “Hall Of Fame.” This will cost you $250 a month or $3,000 a year. You get all of the above along with a practice invite and facility tour. Now, we’re talking. How about the game plan meeting with coaches before the Auburn game?

And there is this. “Additional benefits based upon contribution level.”

That is tauntingly vague for the well-heeled Alabama fan. If the sky is the limit on what you can do for Alabama recruiting, then the sky may be the limit on what Alabama can do for you.

“Ask not what your Alabama can do for you – ask what you can do for your Alabama,” Saban said.

Sorry, that was John F. Kennedy with “country” instead of “Alabama.” But you get the picture.

The release mentions no “engaging experiences” with Alabama coaches, but if “additional benefits” are “based upon contribution level,” then anything goes. What’s next in this NIL world?

“Greed is good,” said Gordon Gekko.

This is where the Saban dinner and a movie comes in. Or maybe the big money fans could donate enough to have a few star Bama players over to their house for a barbecue? If a fan dropped $5,000 or $10,000 for something like this, something could be done. How much to get the Bama cheerleaders to a party?

Could you see Saban having to sit down with a fan for lunch? Could you see Saban having to have a few rich fans he doesn’t know over for dinner at his house? Or go to a wedding of a family he doesn’t know.

It could happen.

It happened in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” A fan won a charity lunch with Larry David, who made sure the fan did not enjoy it. He engaged in aggravating, meaningless, silly conversation. Saban never does that, but Saban is having to do things with NIL and the Transfer Portal that he thought he probably would never do.


A player recently asked Saban if Alabama could get his girlfriend into the law school and could it be paid for by Alabama. I wonder what Saban’s late father would think about that.

David then started playing music with a knife and salt and pepper shakers and singing. I can’t see Saban doing that either. But this whole NIL-Transfer Portal two-step is one big song and dance of crap crying for reform.

But yea for Alabama. This “Yea Alabama” collective makes sense.

Let the fans help pay for it.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

One Comment

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  1. Now, wait a minute here, Coach Saban. Wasn’t it just last week I read about your discussing the negative impact of the NIL program on players, coaches, fans, and universities? Now he wants more, and he wants us to pay it just for the privilege of having dinner wtih a bama coach.

    No. At the SEC coaches’ meeting, Saban was decrying what NIL had done to players, schools, and recruiting. He thought it should be gone, or at least changed, and now he’s dining for dollars. He must be desperate to save the bama program with another natty t his year, but this isn’t the way to do it.

    Saban should be ashamed of himself.

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