Tuskegee Coach says he received death threats over comments about Nick Saban, Alabama: report

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Tuskegee football coach and athletic director Reginald Ruffin says he received death threats for recent comments he made about Nick Saban and Alabama.

Last week, Ruffin, who coaches the smaller Division II program in Alabama, suggested that Saban and the Crimson Tide should consider scheduling more games against historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) programs. 

“To see those comments over what was misconstrued from my post — my post was not to suggest to coach [Saban], to tell coach or demand coach or tell him what to do,” Ruffin told HBCU Sports Wednesday. “My post was something that someone asked me what I thought of the situation.”

Saban has received backlash in recent weeks after he accused Texas A&M and Jackson State of using NIL deals to acquire recruits.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches warm-ups before the College Football Playoff championship football game against Georgia Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches warm-ups before the College Football Playoff championship football game against Georgia Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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The legendary college football coach made it clear he has no problem with players being able to make money via NIL deals but had issues with how schools are allegedly exploiting the current system. He said the NCAA can’t enforce their rules “because it’s not against the law.”

Saban noted that recruits in Alabama won’t commit to the Crimson Tide unless they match or beat whatever they’re getting from other schools. He said creating and using collectives funded by boosters wasn’t what NIL was supposed to be.

Nick Saban the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nick Saban the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Amid the controversy surrounding Saban, Ruffin suggested last week that the Crimson Tide should rotate games against FCS HBCUs in Alabama to give the smaller schools additional revenue and exposure. He argued that college athletic departments in Alabama should eventually work toward competing against each other in the state.  

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“I’m just serious about HBCUs having the opportunity to play schools in the state for the revenue and the tourism and just keeping money in the state,” Ruffin said. “I just pointed out that Alabama has not played an HBCU nor have they played North Alabama or those other [FCS] schools.”

Among the criticism that Ruffin received, which he said mostly came from Alabama supporters, included claims that he was “extorting money from the University of Alabama.” 

Ruffin, who grew up in Alabama, said he didn’t intend to cause damage to anyone, adding that it was simply about giving an “opportunity.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban watches players warm up for the College Football Playoff championship NCAA football game against Georgia on Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis.

Alabama coach Nick Saban watches players warm up for the College Football Playoff championship NCAA football game against Georgia on Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Despite the backlash, Ruffin said he doesn’t plan to change who he is. 

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“I’m going to put it out there if it needs to be said. The same people that have given me hell are the same people who won’t buy a $20 ticket to an HBCU game but will buy a $300 ticket to an Alabama or Auburn game,” the coach added. “That’s what you’re dealing with. I’m not going to change who I am.”

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