HBCUs should insist on $1M to play ‘beatdown’ games against Power Fives, Deion Sanders says

Sanders said he'd be happy to lead an initiative informing officials that HBCUs won't engage in football games unless the price is right.

Loading the player...

Deion Sanders doesn’t believe in being a sellout or doing everything with the expectation of getting paid in return, but in the case of football teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities competing in “beatdown” games against Power Five squads, he thinks they ought to be collecting as much as $1 million.

According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, during his Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches call on Monday, Sanders, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who’s now the head coach of the sport at Jackson State University, made it clear that he’s not all about the money. — that is unless it’s in regard to funding for HBCU athletes.

“If we are going to get our butt kicked, shouldn’t it be worth it?” Sanders said, the Clarion Ledger reported. “How in the world are we settling for the little minute droppings that they are giving us when everyone is about $500,000 to $600,000? Shouldn’t we get together as an HBCU and say we are not going to play these beatdown games unless we get this?”

Jackson State University head football coach Deion Sanders made it clear, during his SWAC coaches call, that he’s not all about the money — unless it’s in regard to funding for HBCU athletes. (Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Power Five refers to the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, the college football conferences with the historically best teams and whose champions are assured spots in one of college football playoffs’ six bowl games.

The Clarion Ledger reported that Sanders pointed out how Marshall received $1.25 million for playing Notre Dame, Appalachian State earned $1.5 million for playing Texas A&M, and Georgia Southern got $1.4 million for playing Nebraska. However, in the realm of HBCUs, Alabama State received a payout of $590,000 to play at UCLA, Southern got $750,000 to face LSU, and Florida A&M received $450,000 to play North Carolina.

“You can negotiate above, but have the level be $750,000 to $1 million dollars,” Sanders said, according to the Clarion Ledger. “Have it be worth your team’s while because you are going to lose players, and you are going to lose pride and dignity when we sit up here telling people we are just as good.”

While he would like for someone to take the lead on the initiative, Sanders said he would be happy to do so because he’s accustomed to being in that position, and this is something that matters to him. He indicated he would have no problem telling necessary officials that HBCUs are not engaging in games unless the price is right.

“Can we get together and form a committee or something?” Sanders asked his colleagues. “And say we are not doing this unless we get a $1 million or something. Negotiate up but don’t negotiate down.”

Deion Sanders head coach at JSU
Jackson State wide receiver Warren Newman (10) is pursued by Prairie View A&M long snapper Desmond Calloway (51) during December’s Southwestern Athletic Conference championship football game in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson State’s head football coach Deion Sanders wants HBCUs to get no less than $1 million to compete in “beatdown” games against Power Five teams. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

“We are the same kind of institution,” said Sanders, the Clarion Ledger reported. “… We have to go out and get it. But when it comes to selling our kids out … I can’t take it, man. It frustrates me, it angers me, and it upsets me wholeheartedly. I’m sorry, but when I see that kind of stuff, and I look at those stats, it makes me mad.”

Sanders suggested that the $1 million should go straight to competing schools’ football programs since the players — not the school — are the ones suffering injuries and getting their “butts kicked,” and should therefore profit from their sacrifices.

“I just don’t like what I’m seeing: $1.4 million, $1.2 million, and we get peanuts. I don’t like that, it means that we are not doing well business-wise,” he noted, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Sanders announced in September 2020 that he would become the head football coach at Jackson State. In his first season in charge, he guided the team to a school-record 11 victories and the team’s first SWAC championship since 2007, according to the Associated Press.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...