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Saban changes tune on allowing scouts at practice

Earlier this week Alabama head coach Nick Saban caused quite a stink among the draft community when he announced he was banning NFL scouts from Alabama practice.

Saban is upset that agents run amok on college campuses and the NFL doesn't intervene. To fight back, Saban said he was banning scouts. Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports has a recap of the issue here.

Now, Saban is changing his tune.

Talking to the media on Thursday, Saban said the ban is only temporary while it's hot outside.

"I don't think it's fair to our players for people to come in and evaluate our players when it's 110 degrees outside," Saban said. "It's especially hot this year."

Right. Because college players never go on to play in extreme weather.

Saban probably didn't intend to be this standoffish, but to ban scouts is ridiculous. It might appease Saban's need to stick it to the NFL, but it does a disservice to his players.

If going to college is meant to prepare students – and student athletes – for a professional future, Saban is negatively impacting it. This has nothing to do with players like Mark Ingram, Julio Jones or Marcel Dareus. Their professional futures are set.

But a fringe player like Greg McElroy needs every opportunity to impress NFL scouts. And if the NCAA won't pay athletes, universities should provide student athletes with as many chances to impress employers as possible. The players at big schools like Alabama might have an official major, but everyone knows their real major is football. So it should be part of Saban's job description to allow possible employers access to his "students."

Saban may be hiding behind the hot weather excuse, but the original stance he made should not be ignored.