Nick Saban became the elder dean of college football and of his peers for many reasons: He runs a tight ship, he build programs the right ways, he has been fairly consistent with discipline, he has clean programs (insinuations aside,) and of course the recruiting and on-field results matter.
But, aside from those, the main reason Saban leads the charge on so many issues relevant to the sport is that he has never hesitated to speak his mind.
Hugh Freeze, among others including the ACC, actually were the vocal leaders against the unregulated free for-alls known as "satellite camps," a misnomer on par with "military intelligence." Still, it was Saban who got tagged as the primary opponent of these feeding troughs for bagmen.
"So be it," is the thinking, one supposes. Saban has finally couched these camps in terms that opponents cannot deny, that the NCAA must heed, that the media must actually analyze before their next "Saban is the worst" glib takes.
Read up, folks. He's right on every count.
And this is why he represents the silent (and not-so-silent) majority of his peers: he's never ceased calling a spade a spade:
"We want people to come to our campus. It’s not just about recruiting. We have a camp for little kids, 1,200 of them, because we’re tying to promote the game and develop players, and we still coach the 600 who come to our camps, just like we coach our players. We have prospects at those camps and see how they do, but that’s not what the camp is for, not from our standpoint.
"Why should we be promoting somebody else’s camp anyway? It’s the same thing I said before: This is the only sport where the high school coach still mattered, what they did at the high school mattered, so all you’re doing is allowing all these people who we spend all our time at the NCAA saying ‘You can’t recruit through a third party. You can’t be involved with third-party people,’ [Saban smacks table] and that’s exactly what you’re doing.
"It’s creating all these third parties that are going to be involved with prospects and all that, and who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp, I talk to some guy I don’t know, and he’s representing some kid because he put the camp on, and I’m in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp? Is the NCAA going to do that?
We do that at our camp. We have people responsible for that. It’s called compliance folks. What kind of compliance people do we have at these camps?"
Amen. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would do well to mirror this same reasoning and these talking points.