North Carolina Central is still basking in the glow of its Celebration Bowl win and capturing the program’s first Black National Championship since moving to Division I.
When you win a title — especially as a decided underdog — you stand up straighter. And the chest pokes out just a bit further. With the edge off and the trophy in hand, the wisecracks flow freer.
That was the case for NC Central head coach Trei Oliver, who took the opportunity to be light-hearted on Tuesday during his end-of-the-year press conference.
When asked whether leading his team to a national championship would eventually open up more pathways for HBCU coaches to get FBS jobs like Deion Sanders at Colorado and Charles Huff at Marshall, Oliver, in his third season as Eagles’ coach, took the time to quip about his counterpart on Saturday.
“Colorado could have got me for half the price, though,” he said with a smile in reference to Sanders agreeing to a reported 5-year, $29.5 million contract he inked with CU. I don’t know if the ink is dry on the contract. I know they had to wait until after the game.
“Colorado, if y’all are having second thoughts, ya’ll can contact my agent.”
NC Central sports information director Kyle Serba then chimed in with “I don’t think we’d be able to match that either.”
Said Oliver: “Kyle, Colorado said they didn’t have the money either. They’re still trying to sell some fish plates and do some car washes.”
The figures are such that Colorado reportedly hadn’t yet procured the means to cover them. “We don’t have the money yet, but I know we’ll have it,” CU athletic director Rick George admitted when asked about Sanders’ contract “So, I’m not worried about that piece.”
George didn’t disclose how Colorado will pay Sanders, but based on the statement made to the press, it appears the funds will be secured sooner than later.
After the win on Saturday, Oliver — while gracious and respectful of Jackson State and its now ex-head coach — has taken the chance to describe how hanging a loss on Sanders in his final game as HBCU coach was satisfying.
“That made it so much sweeter,” Oliver told the News & Observer, “to send him on his way to Colorado or wherever else he’s going, ‘and-1.’ He’d been talking all this ‘and-0’ stuff, ‘and-0.’
“And they’re going to dominate. So he can take that ‘and-1’ with him to Boulder, Colorado.”