Former Jackson State University football coach Deion Sanders has some unfinished business with the school, as the retired NFL star turns the page on his coaching career.
He announced on Saturday that he would be moving on from JSU where his team holds a 12-0 record this season and a second SWAC title, to take a position as head football coach at the University of Colorado, to much controversy. However, there’s a hitch.
Sanders still owes JSU about $300,000 for a contract buyout after accepting the head coach position at CU, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reports, citing a copy of his 2020 contract with JSU obtained by USA Today Network.
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Under the contract, Sanders must pay half the remaining salary on his deal if he leaves for another job, as long as Ashley Robinson is still JSU’s athletics director.
“Coach Prime” was contracted to lead JSU’s team through Dec. 15, 2024. But he surprised many with his announcement, following the Tigers’ SWAC Championship victory, 43-24, over Southern University, about leaving JSU, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), for Colorado.
USA Today reported that some people viewed Sanders as a sellout who turned his back on an HBCU and Black people. Others said he simply did what nearly all college coaches want to do: make more money at a bigger university.
Sports Illustrated reported that Sanders’ JSU tenure was a huge success, compiling a 27-5 record and winning consecutive SWAC championships. Sanders is expected to stay with JSU through the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 in Atlanta against North Carolina Central.
Looking ahead, Sanders faces the challenge of turning around a Colorado team that has only two winning seasons since 2006.