Deion Sanders
Jackson State

Deion Sanders doesn’t like Thursday night games for HBCUs

Deion Sanders isn’t a fan of HBCUs playing Thursday night games for TV. He has his reasons why.

Deion Sanders has been preaching the gospel of exposure since he arrive at Jackson State a little over a year ago.

So what does he think of the Thursday night slot that HBCUs are often placed in by ESPN? A reporter asked, and he didn’t hold back.

“I don’t like to see empty stadiums. That’s not putting our best foot forward. I know we want to be on television, I know we want the look — but is that really putting our best foot forward,” he said. “Our people are traditionally weekend people. We like to tailgate, we like to see the bands, we like to see the pageantry, we like to see all of that.”

For Sanders, it comes down to economics. Thursday night is, of course, a weeknight.

“Our people gotta work on Thursday then they have to work on Friday — then they’re looking forward towards the weekend. So I don’t like Thursday night games for our people.”

Okay, so what about Friday nights then?

“Friday may be more conducive, but then you’re stepping on the high schools,” Sanders said. “I mean everybody got kids, everybody got their babies. They want to see their kids and you’re trying to take from different markets.

So when it gets down to it — Deion Sanders is a traditionalist in this area.

“I like Saturdays. That’s what I like. I know you’re competing against a lot of other networks. A lot of other schools. But that’s why we need our own dern network. We need a network for our people. We need you to turn the channel to see us. Then we’ll know the true numbers that we have.”

The SWAC has led the FCS in attendance every year it has been measured other the year Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Jackson State has led the FCS in attendance several times. Still, Sanders also questioned why he felt it was hard to get fans out to non-classic games. He used his team’s game against ULM as an example.

“It wasn’t halfway packed,” he said of the visitor’s side. ”But we go three hours from here, we call it a party, we call it a classic — then we want to come. I don’t understand that philosophy. So do we have real football fans, or do we just come to party?”

Thursday night, of course, is also a night of primetime NFL football. Sanders, who has also been an NFL analyst for years, says there is a far bigger hurdle to HBCU attendance sucesss on Thursday night than the NFL.

“We’re not competing with the NFL. We’re competing with life. That’s who we’re competing with,” he said. “Going out there and offsetting our life. Ain’t nobody getting in the care and going to another HBCU city to support their baby — unless its their baby.”

Deion Sanders doesn’t like Thursday night games for HBCUs
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