The Deion Sanders Effect: How coaching at Jackson State opened up opportunities for all HBCU Sports
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
You may hate or love the decision, but Deion Sanders is moving on to the University of Colorado to become their next head coach. Black Twitter has been ablaze with people on both sides of the fence weighing in on his move. Some naysayers are stating that Deion sold out Jackson State and should've stayed longer, others are saying that it is a smart business move that he had to make because who would turn down a $5 million per year payday? One thing is unanimous is that no one has brought the attention to HBCU Sports in such a short time in history. The Deion Sanders Effect.
When Deion Sanders got announced as the coach of the Jackson State Tigers, many thought it was a gimmick. A lot of people didn't realize is that Deion, for years had a very successful Football Training Academy in Prosper, Texas, and was the Offensive Coordinator for Trinity Christian School. Hey, you had to start somewhere. Quickly, and in Prime-Time Deion Sander's fashion, all eyes were on the Tigers Program. The Jackson State Football team, led by his son Shedeur as quarterback, won back-to-back SWAC Championships with Deion winning the Coach of the year also.
Photo Credit Carl Agard
Deion Sanders always knew how to leverage his name and status in the media and he used it to showcase the talent of not only Jackson State, but also all of the HBCU College Sport Programs. ESPN started featuring football and basketball games. They even hosted a College Gameday at Jackson State during this past season. With the National Network coverage came much needed dollars for the Universities. Heads were turned and major colleges took notice when Deion recruited the number one athlete to Jackson State, Travis Hunter. Now, HBCU's were being considered by high school athletes.
While he had the spotlight, he also brought awareness to disparities like the inadequate facilities the HBCU Sports programs and the City of Jackson water situation. He even donated a large part of his salary back to the University.
Hate it or love it, Deion Sanders moves on but it's up the HBCU Sports Programs to continue on the path that he paved and keep recruiting top high school athletes and getting their games on the major networks. There are also still prominent Ex Pro Athletes coaching at HBCU's such as Eddie George, Cynthia Cooper, Kenny Anderson, and Juan Dixon.