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NFL Hall of Famer and SEC legend Peyton Manning recently shared his thoughts on college athletes earning NIL deals.
“My advice to all these kids would be just to be sure you kind of keep the priorities in order,” he said. “The first thing you’re there for is to get your education, and that’s got to be tops. If we’re not taking care of our school work and not acting right in class, then the football is not going to be available because you’re not going to be allowed to play.”
Few athletes in modern history have participated in more advertising or marketing campaigns than Manning, so he’s no stranger to striking a balance between career and extra opportunity. Manning explained that, as a professional athlete, he had to manage the two worlds delicately and never give the impression that football wasn’t his priority.
“[College athletes are there] to get a great education to be the best football player you can be,” Manning said. “Anything else that you do, or participate in, is kind of in that extra-curricular activity, that’s community service.
“Now, it’s [become] these NILs that are in place. To me, if players get too pre-occupied with that and they’re not concentrating on the football and the education, that’s not what being a student-athlete is supposed to be. … Remember that some of these opportunities are going to be coming your way, but you have to continue to earn those. If you’re not scoring a lot of touchdowns or getting a lot of sacks, some of those things might go away.”