'It's becoming free agency': Deion Sanders sounds off on NIL landscape
Count Jackson State head football coach Deion Sanders among the growing list of coaches who are less than pleased with the evolving influence of Name, Image, and Likeness deals on the landscape of college football.
During a conversation with Carl Reed on 247Sports, Sanders said the NIL landscape is becoming too much like free agency for his liking.
"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
“It’s becoming free agency, real free agency, and if you don’t have it (money), you’re not going to be able to compete,” Sanders said. “It’s just another way, to me, to keep the schools that don’t have the proper funding down.”
Sanders went on to say he tells his players to focus on earning potential at the next level rather than becoming obsessed with making money in college.
“First of all, I’m not giving a kid nothing like that,” Sanders said, referring to the reported large deals that players at bigger schools have acquired. “I want you to focus on the NFL, not the NIL. You ball out, and you prepare yourself for the NFL. If you get comfortable when you’ve already got (NIL money), I mean, come on. How hungry are you gonna be to go out there and work and go get it?”
Prime Time can certainly speak from a place of experience. As a player, he made serious coin. During 14 NFL seasons, Sanders made a total of $33.6 million in his football career. As a high school star, Sanders was drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 MLB Draft but chose to attend Florida State to play football. He was a two-time unanimous All-American with the Seminoles.