So far, though, there’s been no further response from Sanders of Jackson State.

Saban may be frustrated over other colleges’ newfound ability to compete for players that programs like his once upon a time would have had to themselves. Even assuming Alabama has always played by the NCAA’s onerous rules banning the school and its boosters–wealthy donors willing to color outside the lines a bit–from compensating players, there’s absolutely no doubt that his program has always enjoyed an advantage based strictly on resources.

Saban himself makes a reported $9.5 million under the same system that disallows schools to directly compensate athletes beyond the value of their scholarships, room and board and small per diems for food when traveling. Though it doesn’t break out the numbers by sport, the school’s athletic operating revenue was $179.8 million in fiscal year 2021.

By comparison, Jackson State posted operating revenue of $104 million for the entire university in its 2018 fiscal year, the most recent year that data was posted to the school’s web site. The school operated at an $82.1 million operating loss that year.

The NCAA approved NIL deals, in which student athletes can be compensated by sponsors for the use of the name, image or likeness, in 2021. That was mostly an acknowledgement that several state legislatures were already poised to pass laws guaranteeing the athletes that right, in addition to codifying a way around the NCAA or schools themselves from paying athletes out of their pockets.