When Deion Sanders became the head football coach at Jackson State in 2020, the Pro Football Hall of Famer vowed to not only help JSU, but all HBCU programs.
And since that fateful September day when he was announced as the new “leader of young men” in Jackson, he’s done nothing to dispel that notion.
From an exposure, visibility and spokesmen standpoint, Coach Prime has been vital to the betterment of Black college football. His latest deed speaks volumes to what he meant when he said he’s here to be a “beacon of light for all HBCU” institutions. He wasn’t lying.
The Mississippi Valley State football program, which is an in-state SWAC rival of JSU is in need of a new practice field for its football program. Enter Coach Sanders, who made a surprise visit to the MVSU campus and witnessed the practice field as a bad situation.
“I’m like, is this ‘The Children of the Corn’ or the practice field?” Coach Prime asked. “Hold on, go back to that. You’ve got to be kidding me. Stop, stop, stop the darn tape. You mean to tell me this is the practice field? All right, we’ve got to do something about that.”
Sanders will now proceed to get help to build the Delta Devils a new practice field, which isn’t hidden in the corn fields and behind the tennis courts.
Sanders wasn’t done discussing what he’d seen “down on the delta.”
“After I’ve seen all that, it’s time for me to go work. It’s my objective to help Coach Vincent Dancy and his staff and those wonderful athletes there. We’ve got to build them a game field. It’s not going to be turf; it’s going to be a grass field. But I need you to help me maintain it, keep it beautiful and green so they can excel.”
Sanders Also Offered To Help Alcorn State
This is Sanders’ first rodeo when it comes to lending a hand to an in-state SWAC conference rival.
In September, he received word of the Alcorn State Braves not having on-site trainers, which is unfathomable for any sport, especially one as violent and physical as football.
Coach Fred McNair offered his opinion about the situation via conference call with HBCU Sports.
“You have to have a certified athletic trainer on campus in the building to do these things, and we didn’t have one. That’s such a discouraging thing to me that we’re not doing a good enough job to bring in someone of our own to be an athletic trainer at Alcorn State University.”
Sanders quickly intervened after hearing McNair talk about being blindsided about his Braves team not having trainers on site during some practices.
“If I can help, I’m going to help. Immediately. This is bigger than the little rivalry.
“My brother McNair, if you can hit me right now, if you have a problem, call me. This is about those kids, man. And I got love for that brother. He’s a good dude.”
— Philly 🖐🏾🏌🏾 (@TO_Philly) September 22, 2021
Sanders is pushing for unity within the SWAC. Rivalries are good for the conference, but petty differences stop overall progress. Four HBCU players were drafted on the third day of the 2022 NFL draft, after having one player taken in the 2020 draft and none in the 2021 draft.
That’s a watershed moment in itself and that isn’t possible without exposure and visibility. New facilities, new energy, just some of the things Deion Sanders is trying to help improve, from the smallest HBCU program to the most high-profile one.