Alabama's Nick Saban denies tampering allegations in recruiting former Louisville wide receiver

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield suggested there might have been some tampering with the transfer of wide receiver Tyler Harrell from the Cardinals to Alabama. Nick Saban is saying that is not the case.

During a golf event on Wednesday, Saban told reporters that "we don't tamper with anybody," adding that he doesn't know of anybody that would have tampered with him, according to a report from ESPN.

"I don't really know that anybody's ever tampered with our players," Saban said. "I just think sometimes when things happen it makes you wonder. So I'm not making any accusations against anybody that's done anything to our players and I don't have any knowledge of anybody that's done anything with anybody else's players."

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In an interview with 247Sports, Satterfield said that tampering is prevalent in college football with the new transfer portal and said he doesn't know how to stop tampering from happening. He said there are going to be backchannels with people not officially affiliated with college football programs spreading the word that a certain program is interested in adding a player as a transfer.

"Everybody knows the rules now. Everybody knows you can leave one program and go play immediately at another program," Satterfield said. "We have to get parameters within this one-time transfer, some windows where they can jump into the portal and leave at the end of spring and fall. Right now, we don't really have any parameters. It's wide open. Anybody can leave anytime."

In a May 2021 report from ESPN, an SEC coach said tampering is happening "most of the time." The report said teams waiting for players to enter the transfer portal are usually too late to land the transfer, which has led to teams going through third parties and players to explain their interest in having them join the program. Transfers have been on the rise since the rules changed, allowing players to transfer once during their collegiate careers and be immediately eligible to play.

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Satterfield was then asked specifically about Harrell, who caught 18 passes for 523 yards with six touchdowns in 2021. Harrell announced on April 14 that he would be transferring from Louisville. On April 22, he announced he had committed to Alabama.

Satterfield said that he couldn't prove there had been any tampering with Harrell.

"I think it's not only him, it's happened before here. Last year we had a few guys that jumped into the portal and the next day they're announcing where they're going," Satterfield said. "You can look at that and know that something is going on before they went in the portal. But I do think it's happening all across the country. It's not just our program. It's every program. It's something we certainly need to look at it closely and try and figure out what's the best way to move forward."

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Saban said there are challenges to preventing those not affiliated with the program from directly or indirectly getting involved in the recruiting process.

"When you have a guy leave your program and go someplace else after the game, I don't have any evidence that anything happened and I'm not making any accusations, but it makes you wonder, I guess," Saban said, according to ESPN. "But hopefully we have enough honesty and integrity out there amongst us professionally in our sport that people are going to abide by the rules."

Author(s)
Edward Sutelan is a digital content producer for The Sporting News. He has previously worked for PennLive, The Cape Cod Times and The Columbus Dispatch, and is an Ohio State University graduate.