Deion Sanders offers to help Alcorn State secure athletic trainers for teams

Jackson State Coach Sanders offered to help Alcorn State get resources because he wants to see its student-athletes "get down."

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NFL Hall of Fame player-turned-coach Deion Sanders reached out to a rival HBCU team, offering assistance in finding trainers for their squad. 

Earlier this year, Sanders signed up to be the head football coach at Jackson State University, where he has been vocal about seeing football programs at historically Black colleges and universities have a bigger media imprint. 

In a conference call captured by HBCU Sports, Alcorn State University coach Fred McNair said his players recently had to miss practice due to a lack of resources. In the same conversation, Sanders said he wished the coaches could “have the relationship that we could call each other.” 

Former NFL Hall of Fame player and current Jackson State University football coach Deion Sanders reached out to a rival HBCU team, offering assistance in finding trainers for their squad. (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

He also offered to help Alcorn State get resources because, as he said, he wants to see the university’s student-athletes “get down.” 

“If I can help, I’m going to help. Immediately,” Sanders said. “This is bigger than the little rivalry.”

“My brother McNair, if you can hit me right now, if you have a problem, call me,” Sanders added in a message to his fellow coach. “This is about these kids, man. And I got love for that brother. He’s a good dude.”

The NCAA requires a certified trainer to be on campus. Part-time trainers at the Mississippi HBCU, about 70 miles southwest of Jackson State, have recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

“The biggest thing that, such a heartbreaking thing, is when you have meeting in the morning time to talk about a great win and move on to the next game, and come to find out, we can’t practice because we don’t have athletic trainers on campus,” McNair told radio host Charles Edmond per Football Scoop. “That’s deflating. That’s unacceptable for me as a football coach.” 

“We got a big game [at South Alabama] that’s going to make the university money, and we can’t go out and get treatment for the young men and women,” he continued. “We can’t get treatment or rehab on this day, not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow. This is something that needs to be fixed. This is an administration issue. I could talk about it all the way ’til I turn blue. This has got to be fixed.” 

“We’ve got to be able to pay somebody to be the Alcorn State athletic trainer, and we don’t have one,” said McNair. “That’s disheartening. I told the players the reason we weren’t going to practice this morning was because we didn’t have a certified trainer, and you could hear the room. It was a bad feeling for me to have to tell the guys.”

In the video, Sanders said of McNair, “That’s one of our treasures in the HBCU. We’ve got to have his back.”

“The current coronavirus spike,” The New York Times reported last month, “has hit the South hard, but a combination of poverty and politics made Mississippi uniquely unprepared to handle what is now the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves reopened his state early in the pandemic and has repealed all mask mandates and opposed vaccine mandates. The governor recently stated that people in his state are “less scared” of COVID-19 because they believe in “eternal life.”

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