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Deion Sanders wants players focusing on ‘NFL, not the NIL’

SportDeion Sanders wants players focusing on ‘NFL, not the NIL’


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In the mid ‘90s Hall of Famer Deion Sanders crooned “Must Be The Money,” while in the midst of both a Major League Baseball and NFL career. Nearly 30 years later, he’s singing the same tune, albeit from a different perspective.

Sanders, now the head football coach at Jackson State University, has an issue with the NCAA’s name, image, likeness policy. Prime Time has no qualms about athletes getting paid, he just prefers that their focus be on something bigger than the money.

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FILE - Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders points during an NCAA football game against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Monroe, La.

FILE – Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders points during an NCAA football game against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Monroe, La.
(AP Photo/Mathew Hinton, File)

“It’s becoming free agency, and if you don’t have it, you won’t be able to compete,” Sanders said during an interview with 247Sports’ Carl Reed. “It’s just another way to keep the schools that don’t have the proper funding down. First of all, I’m not giving a kid anything like that. I want you to focus on the NFL, not the NIL.”

Coach Prime’s rant didn’t stop there. Sanders argued that when athletes cash in early, they can become complacent and lose focus on the bigger picture. “If you get comfortable with, you already got a meal and you got that (money) comin’, I mean, c’mon,” said Sanders. “How hungry are you gonna be to go out there and work and go get it?”

Deion’s comments come less than a week after Kansas basketball coach Bill Self blasted the NCAA and their loosely governed NIL policy, stating that the combination of NIL and the transfer portal has “changed the playing field to maybe where it’s not quite as level as what it potentially could be.”

Kansas head coach Bill Self signals against USC during the first half of a men's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signals against USC during the first half of a men’s college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Just days later, University of Miami basketball player Isaiah Wong threatened to transfer if the compensation in his NIL deal wasn’t increased.

Screw the pros – these kids want paid now. Never mind the fact that most college students (athletes or not) don’t know the first thing about financial planning.

“We can’t lose the fact that these are young men,” Sanders insisted in his interview with 247Sports. “They got to stay hungry. They got to stay interested. They gotta stay invested.”

Sanders took it a step further, confirming he’s not interested in recruits who’s main focus is cashing in. “When a kid say, ‘Ugh coach, how bout that paper?’ Click,” said Sanders, mimicking the sound of a phone hanging up.

Sep 11, 2021; Memphis, TN, USA; Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders walks up and down the sideline in the Southern Heritage Classic between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

Sep 11, 2021; Memphis, TN, USA; Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders walks up and down the sideline in the Southern Heritage Classic between Tennessee State University and Jackson State University at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
(Henry Taylor-USA TODAY Sports)

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Deion wouldn’t be interesting in chatting. After all, it’s clearly the money that does the talking.

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