Why Nick Saban has been banned from a Louisiana high school
Nick Saban may be the king of college football. But at one Louisiana high school he’s a persona non grata.
At least that’s what David Feaster, head coach of Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, told ESPN 104.5 in Baton Rouge earlier this week, claiming that Alabama was “not being ethical in their recruiting.”
Feaster was on the show to discuss one of his former players, quarterback Brandon Harris, who announced that he was transferring from LSU on Monday.
Before he ended up at LSU, Harris was a coveted high school star. As Feaster told it, then-Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and then-wide receivers coach Billy Napier showed up at the school and “offered” Harris a scholarship. Feaster dug deeper and discovered that it wasn’t really a scholarship … just an offer to attend a summer camp to be further evaluated.
Yet soon after, Nick Saban himself called and offered a scholarship. And at that point Feaster assumed it was an actual, tangible deal (quotes courtesy of AL.com):
“Napier calls me the next day and says, ‘Coach, I have some good news for you. Tell Brandon to call me on this phone during this period and I’ll put Nick Saban on the phone,”‘ Feaster said. “We do that and Saban says, ‘You have a scholarship at the University of Alabama.’ So, they gave him a scholarship offer. It was a committable offer.
“By the time he gets to campus in June — and I’m not saying Brandon was going to commit to Alabama — it wasn’t an option. Basically what they told him is that we got other guys that are going to come through here, and I promised them a shot. So we have to wait and see then.”
Feaster went on to explain that he understands that just because a kid has an offer, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be on the table in perpetuity (offers are generally dropped when the position is filled by another player).
“I understand that the offer may not be good a year from now — but if you offer him, you’re making a committable offer,” Feaster said. “If you make a committable offer, there needs to be a window where my guys can say I’ll take that offer and we’ll be done.”
At the same time, Feaster said he never believed that Alabama was really offering.
“That never happened with Brandon. All it was was them angling him to come to camp and competing against other guys.”
Feaster went on to make two final points from there: Even in the topsy-turvy (sometimes shady) world of recruiting, Alabama is the only school to ever pull such a stunt (Feaster mentioned that both LSU and Auburn were also interested in Harris, and never pulled anything similar to that). Feaster also went out of his way to say that he doesn’t discourage his players from attending Alabama. However, after the incident he’s just decided that anyone from Saban’s camp is no longer welcome at his school.
“They can’t come. Everyone else is 100 percent welcome.”
It will be interesting to see if there is any trickle-down effect. While it won’t hurt Alabama in the big picture (because honestly, nothing does), Parkway High School has two high-level Division I prospects this season.
Regardless, credit to a high school coach for sticking up for his players.