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Coaches: Players deserve voice

College football players on the verge of initiating landmark changes in the sport deserve a voice in determining their own fate, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive is among the high-ranking supporters of shifting away from a pure scholarship payment for players participating in profitable intercollegiate athletics sports.

“I’ve always been an advocate of players being compensated the best that we can to help them. Whatever the NCAA rule is and whatever they decide to do, I’ve always been an advocate of the player and the quality of life that a player has,” said Saban via the Associated Press. “Having a voice in what happens, I think, is something that the players probably ought to have.”

Saban and Alabama were investigated last April when offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, a first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers, said via Twitter that he was paid while in school.

“Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat i had to do. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da first stone.”

Alabama compliance and Fluker’s agent found no proof to dispel Fluker’s version of the story that he was not responsible for the tweet wasn’t true.

Saban is an NCAA leader in limiting agent contact with players prior to the NFL draft to avoid what he has labeled a cause-and-effect consequence for pro prospects.

Stanford coach David Shaw and several other college coaches — including at Penn State, Vanderbilt, Duke and Oregon — opened dialogue with school officials, attorneys and players regarding the ruling last week that determined Northwestern college football and basketball players should be classified as employees and can thereby unionize.

“I’m curious what’s really driving it,” Shaw said of unionization in college athletics “I’ve seen everything, and everything that’s been asked for, my understanding is it’s been provided. I think Northwestern does a phenomenal job providing for their kids, and it’s weird to try to unionize but still compliment Northwestern and compliment their coaching staff on being taken care of. Those things don’t seem to go hand in hand.