There are two things Deion Sanders is upfront with.
He doesn’t care much for Halloween or that Jackson State is part of the FCS playoffs.
The Tigers are currently 8-0 and ranked No. 5 in the FCS Top 25 Coaches Poll. But for the JSU coach, rankings or FCS postseason opportunities aren’t important.
“I don’t really get too much on the rankings and all that. Who’s doing the rankings? I don’t even know who’s doing the rankings. Really, I don’t,” said Sanders when asked by a reporter whether he thought about where JSU was ranked in the poll. “And I don’t I’ve ever addressed our team once by saying, ‘Guys, guess what, this week we’re number five.’ I’ve never done that and I don’t think I ever will. We have a laser focus.”
As of now, Jackson State has an eye on winning the SWAC East, taking home another conference title, and then avenging its Celebration Bowl defeat from a season ago.
Those are the goals of the third-year coach.
“I don’t wish that (for an FCS playoff berth) I’m happy with the Celebration Bowl,” said Sanders. “I’m enthusiastic with the Celebration Bowl. The Celebration Bowl, what they do for us financially, is far greater than what the FCS (playoffs) college bowl game will do for you. I don’t know if we have the resources to travel consistently for three weeks or however long it takes to really be the champions of that.”
Unlike FBS bowl games, the FCS does not feature a system of compensation in exchange for participation.
For schools to host FCS playoff games, the NCAA requires that they submit bids or guarantees of how much they will pay for each home date. The organization sets minimum bids that get higher for each round
The minimum bidding starts at $30,000 for the first round to $40,000 for the second round, $50,000 for the quarterfinals and $60,000 for the semifinals. Some schools with bigger budgets can bid more money to host games on or near its campus.
If the winning school makes money during the duration of its postseason run, the NCAA takes a larger cut minus the school’s expenses. In turn, the school receives a larger share of whatever is left over.
Under these parameters, it would seem the Celebration Bowl — featuring the SWAC and MEAC champions — is a more lucrative financial opportunity. The participating conferences get $1 million each in payouts.
“Everyone would love to see us play. I would love to see us compete against one of those schools,” he said. “But financially, I think we’re in a much better place at the celebration of playing for our people as well. I’m truly happy.”