Coach Prime Brings The Swag To SWAC | Uplifts Entire HBCU System

Screen Capture From JSU vs. FAMU Game

Deion Sanders will always be “Prime Time,” and that star power is just what HBCU sports programs need.

Living in the shadows of Division 1 powerhouses, HBCU football has never been hotter. Sanders has been using his popularity and relationships to stretch what is possible for HBCU student-athletes.

However, over the weekend, Sanders’ Jackson State University Tigers spoiled the Florida A&M Rattler’s SWAC conference entrance. Besides the close 7-6 final score, Sanders’ clout elevated the HBCU spectrum into the stratosphere.

Furthermore, Sanders has suggested that the MEAC join forces with the SWAC to create a true super conference.

Not surprisingly, it reinvigorated a classic game for a definitive purpose for Black students.

Swag Turned On

Sanders went viral in a video welcoming his players into the locker room. Dancing to “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” by Tupac featuring Snoop Dogg, the players entered the locker room with custom suits; courtesy of Michael Strahan and Men’s Wearhouse.

Strahan’s line with Men’s Warehouse, Collection by Michael Strahan, provided every player and coach on the Jackson State University football team with a custom suit. That’s around 150 suits.

In Prime Time fashion, a pop-up Men’s Warehouse on the JSU campus fit the coaches and players. A “team of tailors” reportedly took their measurements.

Then there was Coach Prime himself, donning hater blocker-style sunglasses that exuded finesse. When Coach Prime graced the hallowed Hard Rock Stadium turf, who greeted him? Namely, Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson.

However, when the two engaged in a ceremonial line face-off before embracing, who was casually chilling on the sidelines of the JSU bench? None other than six-time Pro Bowler Terrell “T.O.” Owens.

With his son’s Shilo and Shedeur playing for the team, Sander’s is keeping it full HBCU as a family affair. In addition, Shedeur is also the newest member of the Beats by Dre family, landing an endorsement deal.

Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson and Florida Representative Al Lawson even placed wagers on the game. The winner would receive “a supply of local delicacies” from their opponent’s home region.

Lawson has wagered a box of North Florida shrimp, while Thompson has wagered Delta catfish.

The Rebirth of SWAC

The Orange Blossom Classic was founded in 1933 by the son of Florida A&M University’s president, J.R.E. Lee Jr. It was the postseason’s must-see game with the inaugural welcoming 2,000 fans to the “blacks-only” ballpark in Jacksonville, Florida. FAMU beat Howard 9-0 in that game, successfully establishing the foundation of HBCU classics.

From 1933 -1978, the Orange Blossom Classic reigned supreme as the postseason’s premier HBCU classic event. This year’s Classic held on Labor Day weekend, was a rematch between Florida A&M University and Jackson State University. The rivals had their final face-off in 2018 when the JSU won an 18-16 victory in Tallahassee.

However, the Orange Blossom Classic was re-established to enhance Historically Black Colleges & Universities’ exposure in the enriched community of Miami Gardens. The event highlighted the interest in HBCU’s and their roles developing future professionals and leaders.

In addition, the Classic raises scholarship funds for the participating schools. Sanders fully completed that mission for not only the Orange Blossom Classic. He has set in motion the notion that HBCU’s will only elevate their profiles from within the community.

HBCU communities have Deion Sanders to thank for years to come by aligning star power, passion, and an authentic purpose.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.