What Nick Saban says could convince him to join social media

Twitter has reached its 15th anniversary, but all 15 of those years have been spent without Nick Saban on its platform.

Saban is one of sports’ most high-profile holdouts from the social media giant, and the Alabama coach has no plans to change that.

“I’ve never been big with social media,” he reiterated Wednesday. “Takes a lot of time. You got to respond to a lot of things.”

The focus of the 69-year old coach — the second-oldest in Division I FBS — is evaluating recruits, forming relationships with them and then developing them on campus.

“So far, that’s worked OK,” Saban, who owns the most national championships in college football history, deadpanned.

“If any of you out there can convince me that me having a Twitter account is gonna help us do a better job in either one of those things, then I might consider it. Otherwise, I don’t know why I would consider doing it.”

But times have changed in college football, both for Saban and his players. July 1 marked the first time college athletes could earn revenue from their names, images and likenesses — and many of his players now have paid partnerships with businesses that leverage those players’ social media followings.

Fast-food chain Bojangles is not paying Alabama wide receiver Slade Bolden to eat its new chicken sandwich, as he did in a video earlier this week, to an empty audience. Bolden’s more than 30,000 followers on Instagram matter.

Yet there is more to it, Saban contends.

“How do you create value in your brand?” he said. “I’s not whether you use social media — it’s how you use social media and using it in a positive way to enhance your brand. Aight?

“Which is the only way that anybody is gonna want you to endorse anything for them, is that you have a really positive, wholesome brand.”

Despite Saban’s reputation for running an airtight program, he pointed out Wednesday that the only restrictions he has put on players about social media have been not posting about the team and not posting about “negative things that are gonna reflect poorly on your character, your name, your family in any way.”

Those are the rules, he said, that players will need to deal with if in the NFL. And among Alabama’s guest speakers through the first days of fall camp has been Scott Pioli, who once worked with Saban with the Cleveland Browns before becoming an executive for the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

“He said after your first year here, everybody [in the NFL] is monitoring all of your accounts. Aight? So what you put out there is creating value for you, one way or another,” Saban relayed.

Alabama’s rules about social media have not changed in light of NIL’s changing on the college football environment.

“It’s no different than we’ve always done,” Saban said. “We promote guys to try to create value in their brand by what they do personally, academically and athletically. That’s how you create value and that’s what people are interested in.”

As for Saban creating his own Twitter or Instagram account, the same principal applies.

“No players have come to me and talked to me about it,” he said. “But I would say this, if I thought it would enhance players’ chances to improve their brand by something that I did, I would be all for it.”

Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.

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