In the mid ‘90s, 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 money.
“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.”
"It's becoming free agency, and it you don't have it, you won't be able to compete… I want you to focus on the NFL, not the NIL."
— 247Sports (@247Sports) May 2, 2022
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.”
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 to be 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 whose 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.
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.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF