By now, you know that Deion ‘Coach Prime’ Sanders has landed in Jackson, Mississippi, as first reported by HBCU Sports, and the world has tilted on its proverbial axis.
Between the buzz of five-star center Makur Maker heading to Howard University and now Deion Sanders taking the head coaching position at Jackson State, HBCU’s are suddenly being thrust into the mainstream sports media.
With the political climate in America being what it is, there has been a movement for Black people to reach out culturally to those institutions that are dedicated toward their advancement, and HBCUs are one of those institutions.
Sports are woven into the fabric of Americans regardless of color. So it is a natural fit for those who want that cultural attachment and celebrate sports and pageantry to gravitate to HBCUs.
Fixtures like the NFL and NBA have made concerted efforts to give more exposure to prospective players and exposure to HBCU students for the business side. Those that support HBCUs are excited and should be.
As HBCU stakeholders, we are ecstatic at the national attention our schools are getting; however, we must keep our focus on advancing the positive causes of our institutions without getting caught up in foolishness.
There have been a plethora of opinions and questions related to the hiring of Sanders, understandably. Some questions range from “who is he bringing with him?” to “what are his intentions for the future of JSU?”
Most of the questions and inquiries are legitimate considering Sanders’ willingness to go to a destination, frequently led by his spirituality as he’s said on numerous occasions, and his business ventures off the field having just left the NFL Network for Barstool Sports.
Sanders has addressed some of the questions and concerns. In particular, one was by ESPN’s Bomani Jones, who, on a recent episode of ‘Highly Questionable,’ questioned Sanders’ motives behind taking the Jackson State job.
Jones’ comment was not seemingly with ill intent towards Sanders, as Jones is a Clark-Atlanta University graduate. Still, Sanders would later call Jones a “hater” and essentially say that he is at Jackson State to win and improve the school’s profile. Others have taken to social media to echo both sentiments, while others have chosen a particular side.
For all of this, we must remember the primary purpose of HBCUs is to educate. We, as stakeholders, must continue to protect the integrity of our institutions.
No one wants Sanders or anyone else charged with elevating the schools we hold near and dear to our heart to fail. Because as one does, so does all of them.
The definition of failure, in this case, is not losing football games; it’s losing our souls for notoriety in the process.
Because we care about our HBCUs, stakeholders should ask tough questions for the sake of improvement without being put into the category of ‘haterade.’
Could not agree more with Mr. Walker! If we are in this simply to become the latest version of the Athletic Industrial complex, we are no different than the system we are trying to change.
I’m not interested in watching or supporting the development of a HBCU version of the SEC. I’m not naive enough to think that the legacy of HBCU’s will protect them from greed and exploitation. We (Fans, Alumni, Institutional Leaders, and Athletes) must be vigilant in being something better and DIFFERENT.
What do you think funds the these Universities? The SEC Universities / NCAA make 100s of millions of dollars off our talent while our HBCUs struggle to keep up. What you should be saying is “how do we capitalize on our own talents and keep them in house?” This includes coaches like Deion Sanders. We are too quick to ask the wrong questions because you really don’t want progress unless you can take credit for the success. Hence you are a HATER. Bomani Jones should be trying to help his alma mater in the same manner. Reach out to those that he knows are being looked over for head coaching jobs and convince one of them to do the same thing for his school. The biggest question of all is WILL THE UNIVERSITY DO RIGHT WITH ALL THE NEW FUNDING SOURCES THAT ARE COMING THEIR WAY? The HBCUs in MS are absolutely under funded by design. This could mean millions for our University. That we would otherwise never see. Why are we so ready to question that I wonder?