Deion Sanders reveals the real problem with college football, and it’s not NIL

Deion Sanders. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Deion Sanders. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images) /

Deion Sanders touched on name, image, likeness, as well as the biggest issue of all: Collectives.

Taking over a downtrodden Colorado Buffaloes program, new head coach Deion Sanders understands fully the challenges that are ahead of him rebuilding this traditional Pac-12 doormat.

Sanders caught up with FanSided‘s Matt Verderame and Patrick Allen at Radio Row ahead of Super Bowl 57 in Phoenix, courtesy of Oikos. Fascinated by his entry into the Power Five, Verderame asked Sanders about the changing landscape of college football, whether that be the transfer portal, realignment or NIL. The greatest cornerback of all time had a fantastic answer about NIL, as well as collectives.

"“You talk NILs, it’s a beautiful package, but how many guys have NILs? NIL means ‘I’m going to pay you for your name, image, likeness.’ How does your name, image, likeness have worth when you’re coming out of high school? Who is going to go buy a product because your name [is attached to it?] They don’t know you! That’s not name, image, likeness. Name, image, likeness should be reserved for players who have established themselves.”"

It was pretty straight-forward, but here is where it gets good with Sanders opining on collectives.

"“Now, the collectives are totally different. That’s just the boosters and the money guys putting a pot of money together and until one delegates where the money goes. That’s what happened to the NCAA, which I don’t think was ever supposed to happen. They didn’t safeguard against that. So now we are where we are.”"

Sanders would finish his thought on collectives with this last little bit about his Colorado program.

"“I don’t want these guys to be hungry or starving and have desperate needs when the university is prospering as well. So I can understand, but I don’t want you to be in college rich. I want you to be in college, hungry for the next level. So I want the guys to focus on the NFL, not the NILs.”"

Here is the interview in its entirety between Allen, Verderame and Sanders while at Radio Row.

Deion Sanders opines on NIL and collectives as he takes over Colorado Buffaloes

Sanders did a fantastic job of explaining in laymen’s terms the fundamental differences between NIL and collectives. If you are not paying attention to it, you might use the terms interchangeably, but that would not be correct. Sanders is right that NILs are virtually worthless for a player coming out of high school. NIL should be reserved for college athletes who have a well-established brand.

The biggest issue programs like Colorado must navigate is that the feckless NCAA did not put forth any safeguards regarding collectives. It is truly the Wild, Wild West out there. Eventually, there will be stipulations put in, much like we have seen with the transfer portal. For now, we are dealing in a truly capitalistic marketplace in the talent acquisition space in college sports, for better or worse.

The last part of Sanders’ comments on collectives is probably the most intriguing. Although the transfer portal, NIL and collectives will go along way towards bringing the Colorado football program back from the dead, he does not want players who want to take shortcuts. He would rather have guys who are hungry for what’s next rather than guys who want their big payday now.

Overall, this seems to be in line with what it is going to take to succeed at the highest levels at Colorado. You cannot microwave this overnight and expect a winning product immediately. This was an 1-11 team a year ago, arguably the worst program in the entire Power Five. Should the Buffs go 6-6 in year one, then that would be a huge accomplishment for everyone to celebrate.

Ultimately, it shows that while Colorado and Coach Prime is open for business, it is not going to be a place where corners will be cut and entitlement will be tolerated; you will have to be about the work, first and foremost. With UCLA and USC leaving for the Big Ten in two years, possibly with San Diego State and SMU replacing them, there is market share to be had for Sanders’ Buffaloes.

Sanders was the perfect hire for Colorado and he is exactly what college football needs right now.

Oikos strives to support all the strengths that make you unstoppable, which is why for the second year in a row, Deion Sanders partnered with Oikos to remind everyone that we should celebrate our strengths.

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