With Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declaring a water emergency in the state’s capital city, Jackson, Deion Sanders on Tuesday morning said he is left scrambling to find adequate facilities for the basic needs of his Jackson State University players just days before the Tigers’ season opener.
Flooding from heavy rainfall in the Magnolia State has caused myriad problems for Jackson, Miss.,-area residents; some projections estimate between 180,000-200,000 Mississippi residents could be without adequate water operations for an undetermined period of time.
Sanders, five days before his second full JSU Tigers squad opens its season against Florida A&M at the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami, says he needs to help his players find space even to just brush their teeth and have working toilets.
“We’re hit with a little crisis, the city of Jackson; we don’t have water,” Sanders said in a YouTube video. “Water means we don’t have air conditioning, we can’t use toilets, we don’t have water therefore we don’t have ice. Which pretty much places the burden on the program, so right now we’re operating in crisis mode.”
The Tigers, defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champions and 7-6 winners against FAMU in this same kick-off game a year ago, are in their final days of preparation before leaving this weekend for the Orange Blossom Classic.
Sanders stressed his concern about his players extended well beyond any practice-field inconveniences and centered on their general well-being.
“I’ve got to get these kids off campus, the ones that live on campus, the ones that live in the city of Jackson, into a hotel and accommodate them so that they can shower properly and take care of their needs,” Sanders said. “Make sure all our kids are fed and all our kids have the necessities of life for the next several days until this crisis resides (sic). That’s what we’re operating right now.
“So we’re going to find somewhere to practice, find somewhere that can accommodate every dern thing that we need and desire to be who we desire to be, and that’s dominant. The devil is a lie. You ain’t going to get us today.”
As of midday Tuesday, the JSU program appeared to be the only SWAC program affected by the flooding and subsequent water system problems that stemmed from the swelling rivers and waterways. Alcorn State, 70 miles southwest of JSU, was operating as scheduled; it was indicated Mississippi Valley State likewise had not endured any problems, among other programs.
Still, the Tigers showed resolve as the video panned to their locker room.
“It’s hot in here, bro, but that’s Jackson,” one player said at his locker. “That’s just Jackson.”
Added another JSU staffer, “We’re going to make it happen, we’re trying to make a way for these kids to be able to shower, to be able to brush their teeth and stuff because the water is not going right now. Minor setback for a major comeback.”