“Where Did The Money Go?” | Deion Sanders Is Looking For The Pandemic Money For HBCUs

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Deion Sanders wants to know where the money resides that was promised to HBCU’s during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, you heard all the Fortune 500 businesses say, we’re doing this for HBCUs, we’re doing that,” Sanders said last month on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “Where did the money go? Where did the change go? I haven’t seen any change. I want to know where did it go. I’m hearing all these endowments to all these HBCUs; where did it go?
“Somebody raise their hand and say, ‘OK, we did get the check and this is what we did.’ I haven’t heard that yet.”

The Distribution Slant

Sanders shines a light on donations or lack thereof from the private sector.

According to reports, HBCUs have netted more than $250 million in donations from private donors and philanthropists. However, the distribution of funding could be the culprit as out of the 107 HBCUs in the country, only three received the lion’s share of the funding.

Morehouse College, Spelman College and Howard University have been the recipients of about $160 million, with much coming by way of private donors who own major corporations.

The CEO of Netflix and his wife, Reed and Quillen Hastings alone donated $120 million. The funds were divided between Morehouse, Spelman and the United Negro College Fund. However, aside from the Tuskegee University, Xavier University and the University of Louisiana, schools in the Deep South did not get the same distribution of funds.

Sanders coaches in Mississippi, one of the former seats of the Jim Crow South. The state is economically depressed and always rates high on the poverty scale and low on the employment rate.

Do You CARE?

Then there’s the federal money which also apparently must be missing for Jackson State.

According to the CARES website, “the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act CARES Act is a bill that allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF.”

Such disparities highlight the obstacles staff and students have to overcome at HBCUs, a theme Sanders brought up when discussing the challenges he had to overcome since becoming the head coach of Jackson State University.

Elevation

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been lacking in resources and opportunities, and Coach Prime’s presence has elevated the stature and amenities.

“First of we had to rehaul the equipment so Under Armour came in and did uniforms; we have several uniforms and three more coming this year,” Sanders said on “Pardon My Take.”

Sanders detailed how practice consisted of a bus ride to a high school football field, even though Jackson State is a university. He also discussed media training and holistically helping his students in more than just the game.

The Fields

“Garbage is an understatement when you have to take a bus 15 minutes away to go practice at a high school field and you’re a college,” Sanders continued.
“The potholes wasn’t even the worst thing; it was the big fall-off on the side of the field that if someone ran a fade and ran off the side of the field you would dislocate their leg or something — and they said it actually happened,” Sanders added.

However, due to Sanders’ corporate boosting style deal-making, the team has a brand new turf from Walmart and is currently upgrading the locker rooms.

“We’re trying to build a whole inclusive cafeteria right now so that we don’t have to go across campus. So that the kids eat right there, self-encompassing with ourselves instead of sharing it with another sport. Those are huge things,” Sanders continued.

Changing The Game

Sanders is changing the narrative for HBCUs in the football spectrum. His mission is clear, and it is to even the playing field at the schools that are central to the culture.

“I want to see these kids have equality, man, I want to see them have opportunity; something simple like having a pro day. A pro day is something simple to you but its not simple to HBCUs to have a pro day and scouts actually come to see what you got.”

Although private donors are giving to HBCUs, the distribution slant is problematic when you take into account the work Sanders is doing with JSU to elevate the whole HBCU spectrum.


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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.