Must-see TV: Don't let money take away love

Nov. 30—There's no denying name, image and likeness deals have changed the game.

They've done so in many ways. First and foremost, they've given players compensation for the work they put in to their game.

Now, I'm not here to tell you they shouldn't get compensated.

In fact, it was just back in 2019 that I changed my mind on athlete compensation.

As the sports editor of "the Chart" at Missouri Southern State University, I was compensated for the work I put in for the sports section of that newspaper. So, why can't college athletes be compensated for the work they put in for their job?

That's right. Their job.

It's a full-time gig being a college athlete and that's not debatable.

In the short time we've had NIL deals, there's only one red flag I've come up with. I'm afraid it may change the reason players chase their dream.

Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to be an MLB player one day. I chased that dream until ultimately I wasn't able to any more. Unfortunately, that dream ended for me after high school. My talents — whether they could or couldn't have — didn't get me to the college level.

But my reason for chasing that dream was for the love of the game. It wasn't because I was chasing a dollar.

My hope is that kids today don't fall into that trap. By no means am I telling high school and college athletes to not be interested by additional compensation.

You can't tell those who've earned that offer to decline it. Rather, I'm asking these young adults to keep that love for the game that they had as kids.

Don't let the dollar signs and calls for NIL deals change why you're playing the game you love.

If you have money on the table, take it. You earned it after all. Just be sure to keep that fire you found as a youth. Isn't that how each job works? If you love what you do, you won't work a day in your life. Don't let money change that.

Choosing a college to attend is a big decision. With or without NIL deals, put yourself and your game in its best interest.

Trey Vaughan is a page designer and sports writer for The Joplin Globe.