‘He’s not just a football player:’ Trailblazer works to mentor, transcend sport

Deven Osborne poses wearing Team Money Good merchandise. TMG is an on-campus organization focusing on financial literacy for student athletes. Photo by Naomi Vazquez.

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In July 2021, the NCAA shifted its policy and offered college athletes the chance to benefit from their name, image and likeness–and one Dixie State University student took this as an opportunity to prepare.

Wide receiver Deven Osborne, a senior recreation and sports management major from Los Angeles, California, realized the importance of financial literacy once the policy changed. He began to build a network of athletes, mentors and community members to not only increase financial knowledge in athletes but focus on skills like mentorship, networking and organization. Team Money Good is an on-campus organization with over 30 college athletes, creatives and local mentors. TMG began as a tagline and then developed into a brand and clothing line before becoming a web of individuals with a similar goal in mind. 

“The mission is to teach college athletes to better their mindset so they can transcend their sport,” Osborne said. “We teach athletes how to budget, save and invest.”

Isaiah Pope, a junior communication studies major from Yorba Linda, California, has been a TMG athlete since its inception and he has always wanted to help build the organization in support of Osborne. 

Pope said he believes in the mission and message behind TMG. He said because TMG is a mindset and movement, rather than just an organization, he was excited to be a part of it.

“TMG is a positive thing and it is a way of thinking,” Pope said. “You want to be smart with your money so that your money stays good.”

Pope said because Osborne is an effective leader, TMG athletes feel supported and welcomed while building their knowledge and skillsets.

“[Osborne] leads by example… he talks the talk and walks the walk,” Pope said. “He really cares about every single one of us, he works hard and it’s not just for himself–that speaks a lot to his character as a person.”

TMG has a strong focus on mentorship with five principal mentors who are knowledgeable community members sharing their expertise with the TMG athletes. Tiffany Wilson, DSU board of trustees chair, is one of the TMG mentors who coach athletes in their financial literacy interests.

TMG athletes learn how to budget, save and invest with the help of their mentors, so they can become peer mentors within their sport. The group is also connected with community organizations like RISE and Nets on Fire to bring knowledgeable model athletes together with children around the community.

“Without having played football from sixth grade until now, I wouldn’t have been able to do this,” Osborne said. “My goal is to create bonds and help athletes collaborate, and football has helped me do that.”

Osborne said his sport has helped him learn dedication and perseverance, but it has always been important to him to not be consumed by his sport. He said, with the help of organizations like TMG, athletes can learn more about their potential outside of their sport.

Likewise, Ali Threet, dean of students, said TMG is important because it helps with the unique struggles student-athletes face due to the level of commitment required.

“Programs like TMG can show student-athletes that they have a whole life full of opportunity outside of athletics,” Threet said. “After they graduate, [athletes] can feel stuck without so much structure in their lives, and programs like this help prepare them for a life outside of their sport.”

Threet said she appreciates Osborne’s focus on building a well-rounded experience for himself.

“He’s not just a football player,” she said. “[Osborne] belongs to multiple groups on campus, and he brings them together–he is a connector.”

Threet encourages student-athletes to get involved on campus to find identities in new environments. She said student-athletes often find themselves absorbed by their sport that they lose touch with the rest of campus. She said the best way to connect with others, gain a well-rounded college experience and prepare for the future is to get involved with campus and community organizations like TMG. Although it’s difficult with their rigorous schedules, Threet said there is a large network of people and resources on campus to help students branch out.

“Choose to prioritize things that energize you so you can let go of time-wasters,” Threet said. “I think [Osborne] is energized by people and that’s why he is so successful with what he’s doing.”

Osborne said he encourages athletes to venture out of their usual social circles.

“Get out and explore,” Osborne said. “Collaborate with other people, and get out of your comfort zone… it’ll pay off.”

Threet said it is important for DSU student-athletes to know they are not commodities, and they have just as much of a right as other students to reach out and find support in other areas of campus.

“I was a student-athlete, so I have an understanding to some degree,” Threet said. “I know it can feel overwhelming, but students have to be proactive in taking advantage of resources and opportunities.”

Threet said Osborne is a good example to other students who want to take risks and learn to balance their busy lives. She said Osborne is doing a good job of helping student-athletes become prepared for their futures, which is the primary goal of a university. She looks forward to seeing how TMG and Dixie Athletics continue to evolve. 

“TMG is growing, and I always want to be a part of something that’s growing,” Osborne said. “TMG is a passion of mine and I want it to be successful.”

To learn more about TMG, visit https://moneygoodclothing.com/.