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Deion Sanders says 'being the lightning rod is not enough,' eyes greater HBCU impact

Coach Prime is again passionately speaking about elevating all facets of HBCU athletics

There’s no let-up for Deion Sanders, nor is the charismatic Jackson State coach merely content to focus solely on his own Tigers’ football program.

Sanders, speaking with Desi Banks for Light On College Sports, made clear this week his desire to elevate the entire campus experience as Historically Black Colleges and Universities are experiencing a renaissance in attention, with Sanders serving as the barn-storming force igniting the spotlight.

“What’s troubling me now is I’m tired of just being the lightning rod to attract you,” Sanders told Banks. “Because it has to be more. Because now we all have to play team ball, and I’ve got to satisfy you. Now kids are going to Jackson, FAMU, Bethune, Southern, Alcorn, they’re going to all these places because now we have a light of attraction.”

That said light of attraction – and Sanders’ shines brighter than anywhere right now on the HBCU scene, what with his Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials and myriad national media platforms – is what Sanders seeks to use to improve all elements of student-athlete life at the HBCU level, not merely on the field of play.

“When they get there, I want to make sure we’re satisfying their needs,” said Sanders, whose first full Jackson State squad shattered school records and won the SWAC. “Academically. Housing. All the different facets of the needs desired for these kids.

“That’s what I’m on right now, and I ain’t playing about that. I’m upset about it. Because we’ve got to focus on that. We can’t keep having the same old business practices that we had once upon a time because it’s going to be the same old results.”

Sanders’ Tigers face rival Florida A&M Sept. 4 in Miami’s Orange Blossom Classic, the second-straight year for JSU in the event and its second-straight national television broadcast on Labor Day weekend.