By Leon Williams,
Before the dust could barely settle from JSU’s record-setting football season and before the thought of them being 2022 SWAC Champions could fully sink in, coach Deion Sanders held his introductory meeting Sunday, December 4 with University of Colorado officials and players from the football team.
To many sports aficionados the speed at which Sanders arrived in Boulder leaves a bittersweet taste since JSU has yet to play in this year’s Celebration Bowl on December 17 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Given this expected, yet unexpected development, many now question the motives behind Sanders’ initial arrival at Jackson State University to begin with. From the outset, Sanders’ claim was that he was spirit-led to lead Jackson State University to the archetypal football promised land, while allowing the City of Jackson to share economically, socially and spiritually in the spoils.
In truth, the previous three seasons did bring sorely needed excitement and hope to a city badly in need of space to exhale. The Jackson State football team, led by Sanders, allowed the City of Jackson, Mississippi to, at least momentarily, put the ever-present problems of poverty, crime and unacceptable drinking water on the back burner. On the other hand, Sanders’ plundering of the JSU 2023 football team by transferring several key players to the University of Colorado’s football program – including shifting ten high-profile players who had already committed to attend JSU next season also to the University of Colorado – is seen as a monumental betrayal by many. Alabama State University Head football coach Eddie Robinson Jr. is certainly feeling vindicated after having been the brunt of jokes centered around the “I am SWAC” slogan.
Adding insult to injury, Sanders’ introductory meeting with the University of Colorado football players certainly raised many eyebrows when he verbally lambasted the team for their unimpressive prior season record and unabashedly told them to pack their bags and enter the transfer portal. Many observers, whether sports fans or not, are baffled by this unnecessary behavior by someone held in such high esteem.
It remains to be seen whether Coach Prime can deliver the goods as far as rebuilding the University of Colorado football program is concerned, but many would agree that his rebuilding program may very well need to start with the man in the mirror.