The agenda was not an agenda.
Simply to connect on a more personal level, most likely with fans, curiosity seekers and a few coaches from different levels of football.
Deion Sanders didn’t set a time limit, didn’t pre-screen questions and literally didn’t know who was waiving video access for questions Thursday during a Zoom session.
However, Coach Prime – the leader of Jackson State’s top-five unanimous football program – first posted on its official Twitter account, DeionSanders, that it will be hosting the interactive session on Instagram, before clarifying which event will be hosted on Zoom.
Provide the link and passcode – and not remotely access all the questions from a busy audience that includes countless coaches, former JSU alumni, a former JSU women’s basketball player, mother of a soccer player, and countless others.
The event also marked Sanders’ unrelenting frankness.
“Ninety-five percent of my players will not make the transition to the professional level,” said Sanders, a legendary former NFL and MLB player who has been inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame, “so I’m not focusing on the minority but the majority.”
Don’t divide the hair by the 95%—historical data year after year suggests a number closer to 99% or higher that doesn’t make it to the NFL—but focus instead on Sanders’ constant communication.
Coach Prime was told by Zoom attendees about his impact on all aspects of their lives, particularly for those who see fellow minorities and empower minorities in any way they can—whether as a Head Coach in a Historic College and University Program (HBCU)—or in his day-to-day way.
Sanders also revealed that the last team in the NFL that has not yet visited the Tigers football program has sent an envoy.
“All 32 teams have passed now,” he said. “I was about to put you all on a blast.”
Sanders has never been afraid to unveil his program, and he has also shed light on JSU’s approach to hiring.
“[Our goal is to] “Dominate,” said the coach. “We don’t really go after 4 and 5 stars. We attack our needs because our needs enhance the value of this young man in your program.
“We didn’t care if it was a 3 to 4 5 star kicker or gambler or a long snapper. We just wanted some good, consistent people and we went out there and got them and they paid.
“I think Alejandro Mata (owner of the hot spot for tigers) is the only one (among the professionals) who has been 4-star and has stars to his name.”
Sanders also kept it real about both he and his crew’s approach to player education — including, yes, “wearing condoms.”
“We have 13 kids of our players, combined,” Sanders said. Sometimes these are boys trying to raise young boys and raise girls, which is difficult.
“The way we do it is to be transparent about our lives and our pitfalls and our successes and our failures. I will be naked (completely transparent) with them.”
Perhaps most intriguing, at least in terms of collegiate athletics, is Sanders’ willingness to admit that he continues to fight for the JSU program – and presumably, others – to participate in the tradition-rich but largely old-school college football scene.
“We’re always going to push us to the next level,” Sanders said, when asked about his crusade to get JSU into the NCAA’s football divisional pot scene. “Why wouldn’t they want to have that, because we’re going to be traveling together with 40,000? It would be massive. I love it.”
“They said if you’re not in FBS, you can’t go to a pot. Well, change it. Why do all the FCS teams have to play in one little playoff? I’m not really sure that’s appropriate and financially stable. We will push for change in the field.” .
But first, the Tigers will continue to propel them to repeat as champions of Saturday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference at Alabama A&M and seek to earn a second-straight celebration berth for the program, a feat that could set another new benchmark for the Jackson State football team.