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‘You Should Be Grateful:’ Thee Jackson State University is Perpetually SWAC

“You should be grateful.”

The untimely departure of Deion Sanders as the Head Football Coach at Jackson State University has caused an uproar. There have been an array of think pieces regarding the feedback alumni and supporters have given in response to his exit. One idea in particular is that the Jackson State community should be grateful.

I have a lot of points to make and there are so many directions I can go. Bear with me. 

Jackson State University was already on the map. Nobody put us on. We are a Carnegie-classified institution. For those who don’t know what that means, I strongly advise you to be quiet concerning this specific topic, but please look it up—162 SWAC championships and counting. One of the largest HBCUs in the country. Corporate partnerships. Motown. MAC. Young Money. Michelle Obama, and much more. All of this was set before “I believe” was a thing. 

Our alumni are neither to blame nor responsible for retaining a coaching staff. Alumni giving is low nationwide, but certain media will make you believe JSU alumni don’t care about their own institution. Have you never witnessed “Thee I Love”?  

Deion Sanders said repeatedly during his 3-year coaching tenure at JSU that God sent him to Jackson State, a historically Black university in Jackson, Miss. He announced on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, that he was leaving after three seasons—the same night of the SWAC championship—leaving many fans disappointed and upset. Photo courtesy Charles A. Smith/University Communications

University donorship and endowments have placed HBCUs at a systemic disadvantage along with state appropriations and poor legislation. Let’s not be dense. A quick google search will teach you this. 

Comparatively speaking, University of Colorado alumni were reportedly giving at a rate of 8% and hoping to increase by 2016 (no updated information available), so that lets you know the money for a coaching salary at an institution that supports 25,000+ undergraduate students didn’t come solely from their alumni, either. Exactly. 

Coaching at JSU was an opportunity for Deion Sanders. This was a mutually beneficial relationship. He could not two-step his way

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