Deion Sanders on why the NCAA has a ‘little problem’ with spate of NIL deals

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Deion Sanders believes the surge of name, image and likeness (NIL) deals is a problem for the NCAA.

Sanders, the current head coach of Jackson State, warned against college football players getting paid big money when schools lack properly equipped support staff.

“NCAA, you got a little problem,” Sanders started by saying in a video Wednesday.

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Deion “Prime” Sanders talks with his team after the conclusion of the annual spring football game.
(Aron Smith/University Communications/Jackson State University via Getty Images)

He compared NIL to “pay-per-view” in the way some bigger schools are operating.

“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 staff. You got a real problem,” Sanders continued.

“I suggest to you to allow college teams to hire more qualified men. Qualified. That could handle these young men.”

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Jackson State football coach Deion “Prime” Sanders talks with fans during the annual spring football game.
(Getty Images)

Jackson State is a historically Black college or university and plays football in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The school has some of its own big NIL players, including Sanders’ son Shedeur, who inked a deal with Beats By Dre last year and Gatorade in January, and Travis Hunter, who committed to the school over Florida State in a shocker over the college football offseason. Hunter has an NIL deal with the Black-owned coffee company J5 Caffe.

On Monday, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors approved guidance developed by a group of college administrators clarifying the types of NIL payments and booster involvement that should be considered recruiting violations.

“Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA said. “The definition could include ‘collectives’ set up to funnel name, image and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring.”

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders on the sideline during the Southern Heritage Classic against Tennessee State University at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis on Sept. 11, 2021.
(Henry Taylor-USA Today Sports)

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The new guidance is effective immediately, but the organization neither changed its rules nor created new ones. The NCAA directed enforcement staff to look for possible violations that may have occurred before May 9, 2022, but to “pursue only those actions that clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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