The "Prime Time" Effect

By Jordan Jake

January 27, 2021

When Deion Sanders was chosen to be the head coach at Jackson State, he was picked for two reasons - to win games and to recruit the best players...

Deion Sanders ((aka Coach Prime) before even coaching his first game at the college level, Sanders has already delivered in the recruiting aspect while he snagged the top and highest-rated class ever for an HBCU as they rank 40th in the FCS.

“I’m excited. I tell you what, we have one of the best staffs in the country, I really do (think that),” Sanders said. “Guys from high school, college and the NFL. And when I tell you they’re getting after it, they are truly getting after it. The names that are coming in today is phenomenal. We are definitely building on tradition, blazing new trails like the screen says. And we think you guys — this is a first. No one has ever come in the hood to HBCU, but you guys, this is a first. So we are doing our job, man. I’m happy.”

Sanders is taking over an abysmal program that was just 21-40 since 2014. But as we know, if you want the best players, you need to have top-notch facilities, which Jackson State and other HBCUs do not have. "The playing field is horrible," Sanders said of the facilities and resources at Jackson State, per the Clarion-Ledger. "Is not a level playing field. It's unacceptable. Thank God that God called me to change the game, to open their eyes, to open the door. Not just for Jackson State, but for everybody...

„ “I’m excited. I tell you what, we have one of the best staffs in the country, I really do think that”
Deion Sanders - Head Coach, Jackson State Tigers

"Some of the things that I've seen thus far early in my tenure are truly unacceptable. It causes a kid not to dream. It causes a kid to not have that passion because he don't see no end result that's promising for him." It's a shame to hear him say this because he's right. In my opinion, HBCUs are held to a bit of a different standard than the Power 5 schools if we're being honest with ourselves. A significant example is money. Smaller schools do not have the financial advantages of bigger institutions, such as Alabama's ability to fund $16 million in renovations of its Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility in the summer of 2020. Meanwhile, in the HBCU realm, JSU's athletic budget for fiscal year 2018 was $7.6 million, which placed them seventh in the 10-team SWAC and 337th out of 347 schools in the NCAA's top division.

To make matters worse, according to a study published in 2017 by USA Today, Mississippi’s SWAC schools have three of the 10 smallest athletic budgets in Division 1. The research discovered that amongst the 347 colleges and universities that compete in the NCAA’s top division, Jackson State ranked 337, Alcorn ranked 341, and Mississippi Valley State spent less than any other school in the country. That is unconditionally unacceptable and something needs to change.

That is why Deion Sanders is here to change HBCU football/sports for the better. Let's be clear though, it's going to take a team effort, and no one man is going to change the landscape of HBCU sports forever.