SEC Media Days: ‘Our players made over $3 million in name, image and likeness’

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is surrounded by news media asking questions during his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton / Curtis

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is surrounded by news media asking questions during his press conference at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis

A collection of answers from Day 2 of SEC Media Days in Atlanta on Tuesday that featured representatives from Alabama, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and South Carolina:

“So we have challenges on our team. I mean, we had seven players drafted, two first-round draft picks, some very, very good players at wide receiver and other positions that will be difficult to replace. I think we’ve had 113 players drafted in the last 14 years, 31 first-round draft picks. Very proud of the fact we’ve done a good job of creating value for players at the next level.”

-Alabama coach Nick Saban from opening remarks

“Well, I don’t dislike name, image and likeness. I’m all for the players. I want our players to do well. Our players made over $3 million in name, image and likeness. I’m all for the players being able to do as well as they can and use their name, image and likeness to create value for themselves. We have a great brand at Alabama, so players are certainly -- their value there is going to be enhanced because of the value that our brand can help them create. But the thing that I have sort of expressed, not concerns about, but there’s got to be some uniformity and protocol of how name, image and likeness is implemented.”

-Saban on name, image and likeness

“For right now, we have 14 teams in our league for the next couple years. We have some really, really good teams in our league. It’s a very competitive league. You got to be on task each and every week that you play. … But I do think if we move toward the mega conference, again, that whole thing about competitive balance is going to be in question. Look, I’m not here to say we should have it or we shouldn’t have it. But if we have two 20-team leagues, how is that going to impact all the people that are not in those leagues? That’s a question for all of you to speculate and answer on. I really can’t speculate on that.”

-Saban on possible SEC expansion

“Well, for me, I am going to approach the season just like I approached it last year. I am just going to be Will Anderson. I am not going to try to do anything special. I’m not going to go out there and try to be a hero. I am just going to go out there and be myself, be the player that I was when I first got here and just help my teammates play good team football.”

-Alabama linebacker Will Anderson on possibility of breaking Derrick Thomas’ sacks record

“Jermaine’s really cool to work with. From Georgia originally, went to Georgia, but he spent a couple years in California, so I knew him before. Again, really good work ethic. Super cool dude to work with. Every once in a while, (the national championship game has) definitely come up. But, again, now he’s with us, and you can see how hard he’s been working to do what he came to do and contribute, and I’m excited for him. It’s been a lot of timing that we’ve developed, a lot of chemistry that’s going in and that’s only going to improve, so I’m really excited.”

-Alabama quarterback Bryce Young on wide receiver Jermaine Burton, formerly of Georgia

“Well, I respect your question. The answer to that question is: not at all in all aspects. We don’t talk about that. We don’t spend time on it. We don’t tally up the collective records of our opponents. That’s just not who we are. We’re not fighting to win an SEC game, we’re fighting to become a dominant force within the conference. Obviously winning in the SEC requires winning that first game. But when that happens, it’s not going to be a huge celebration. We’re going to celebrate everything at a high level, but we’re going to shift focus quickly to the next opponent because that’s what winning programs do. I don’t take ownership of anything that happened before. I certainly take ownership of last season. We fell way short of our expectations. But we are simply trying to build the best version of Vanderbilt football in year two independent of our opponents.”

-Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea on first three SEC opponents (Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia) a combined 37-6 last season with two playing for the national championship

“MPA was an amazing opportunity for me. Every single one of the Mannings was hands on. You’re with college guys and quarterbacks from all over the country, and it was just an amazing opportunity. We’re in a group chat right now, all the college guys, are in a group chat, and we are all going through the same thing. There hasn’t been a situation that either one of us hasn’t figured out yet. So that level of communication is always there. We’re in a group chat every day. I was roomed with Hooker from the orange school (Tennessee), so I think Peyton (Manning) did that on purpose just to throw a little jab. It was fun. I learned a lot.”

-Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright on taking part in Manning Passing Academy

“I think they both kind of illustrate the frustration of how things are right now. It’s not sustainable, so something’s going to change. Well, we haven’t defined exactly what is an amateur, a student-athlete, as opposed to a professional. I think we need to do that. I think there is ways to do it. I think some football players, it may be in their best interest to remain a student-athlete, under that model, as opposed to professional and vice versa. I think that’s got to be defined. Currently college athletes have more privileges than anybody at any other professional level. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t think it stays the same because there’s responsibilities that go along with being a professional.

“I’ve said this before, you’ve probably already written it down, but those guys lock themselves in rooms and watch film all the time so you’ll be able to get away with it. Go up to your next favorite NFL guy, say, Hey, I heard in the NFL they’re going to have unmitigated free agency, 365, 24/7. And, by the way, there’s not going to be any salary cap or draft, you’re just going to have bidding wars. Just watch the expression on their face. Don’t look at anything else or write down any notes because the expression on their face will be well worth it.”

-Mississippi State coach Mike Leach when asked whether he sided with Jimbo Fisher or Nick Saban

“It’s awesome. The second I heard he was coming, I thought it was a blessing. On the air raid, you hear all about it. Throwing 60 times a game. It’s really not much else you can ask for. You can air it out and everyone gets touches.”

-Mississippi State wide receiver Austin Williams on being in a Mike Leach offense

“Last year I stood up here and there wasn’t a single person in here that was talking about South Carolina football other than maybe our beat writers. No one was talking about any of the individuals in our football team across the country last year. I think the most noise we made at SEC Media Days last year was when we reenacted the Coach Spurrier Arby’s picture on the way back to the airport. But there was very little talk about our football team. That’s different this year. People are talking about us nationally, which is what we want. We have high expectations at South Carolina. People are talking about our players as individuals more nationally than what they were last year. There’s more buzz about this program right now.”

-South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer from opening remarks