Deion Sanders Is Latest Coach To Question NIL Deals | “You Get Athletes Acting Like Professionals”

(Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Another day, and another college coach expresses his displeasure with the way the NCAA has allowed the new culture of name, image and likeness (NIL) deals awarded to amateur athletes to be handled.

After hearing from Alabama’s Nick Saban, and Kansas’ Bill Self, we’re now hearing from Jackson State Tigers head coach Deion Sanders, who was all about the money coming out of Florida State University back in the day.

While Saban and Self want stricter rules, Sanders does agree that trying to coach athletes who already have hundreds of thousands in NIL deals will become a common challenge for elite programs. Coach Prime doesn’t suggest more rules but offers his own solution to the problem. 

In a TikTok/Twitter post, Sanders mentioned expanding coaching staffs.  

“When you start paying athletes like they’re professionals, you get athletes acting like they’re professionals. And you don’t have staffs large enough and equipped enough to handle a young man with money. Let me go deeper. Handle a young man that’s making more money than some of the coaches on the staff.
“I suggest to you to allow college teams to hire more qualified men. Qualified. That can handle these young men that’s getting this money.”

NIL Deals Becoming Hollywood Free Agency? Sanders Thinks So

As it currently stands, players are going to the highest bidder. Last week, Pittsburgh wide receiver Jordan Addison, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (nation’s top WR) entered the transfer portal. And many believe he’ll end up at USC, Texas or Alabama, three schools with tons of NIL capital supply.

Last week, Coach Prime has this to say about NIL deals.

“I like it. I love it for guys to be able to be paid for their name, image and likeness, but it’s becoming free agency, and if you don’t have it, you’re not going to be able to compete. It’s just another way for me to keep the schools that don’t have the proper funding down.”

Sanders said it’s like a PPV event now.

“See, with NIL, it really ain’t NIL because it ain’t no name, image and likeness, it’s just pay-per-view right now. That’s what they’re doing at the big boys, little boys can’t compete with that. But anyway, you’ve got a problem.”

NIL Needs Hard Mandates To Abide By: Tampering Becoming An Issue?

With the guidelines as loose as they are, the hunt for lucrative NIL deals is on and the frenzy is fueled by a transfer portal that allows student athletes more freedom of choice than ever before. It is becoming a bit like free agency, to the point where the word “tampering” is being thrown around.

In fact, Louisville head football coach Scott Satterfield said Alabama tampered with one of his players (Tyler Harrell) who signed with the Tide after entering the portal. Something Alabama head coach Nick Saban vehemently denied.

This makes Saban criticizing NIL deals laughable because he’s capitalized on the very beast he’s criticizing. Sanders too.   

While no new NIL guidelines are planned to be announced, recently the original guidelines were reinforced with a new focus on keeping boosters and those who would wish to corrupt the current NIL system at bay.

As the Detroit Free Press described this week :

“The NCAA unveiled NIL guidance on Monday in an effort to stem pay-for-play recruiting inducements funneled by boosters and collectives. The guidance included no new rules. Rather, the NCAA offered a reminder of existing rules — which have not been enforced in the 10½ months since athletes received a green light to profit off their fame.”

This cat-and-mouse game will continue to be the norm until some strict hard guidelines are put in place and mandated.