Deion Sanders and Jackson State just wrapped up spring football, so he had a little extra time or a trip north.
Sanders headed to Mississippi Valley State to take a visit to the SWAC program led by JSU alumnus Vincent Dancy. During the visit he had lunch with Dancy and running back Caleb Johnson along with touring the school’s facilities.
It was the first visit to the campus, located in rural Itta Bena, MS on the outskirts of Greenwood, MS. And he was shocked by what he saw. Dancy took Sanders to his team’s practice field, which didn’t exactly have Division I football written on it. Or football at all.
“I’m like, is the Children of the Corn, or the practice field?” Sanders said in a video posted to his Instagram and Thee Pre Game Show. “Hold on, go back to that. You’ve got to be kidding me. Stop, stop, stop the darn tape. You mean to tell me this is the practice field? Alright, we’ve got to do something about that.”
Sanders pledged to work to help Mississippi Valley improve its facilities, including a new field. Mississippi Valley State’s athletics budget of $3.9 million in 2021 was the lowest among all Division I athletics programs with football.
“After I’ve seen all that, it’s time for me to go to work,” Sanders said. “It’s my objective to help Coach (Vincent) Dancy and his staff and those wonderful athletes there. We’ve got to build them a game field. It’s not going to be turf, it’s going to be a grass field. But I need you to help me maintain it, keep it beautiful and green so they excel.”
This isn’t the first time Deion Sanders has made overtures to JSU’s fellow Mississippi school. He mentioned making things better for not just JSU, but other HBCUs as well — including Valley. Sanders and Dancy have mutual respect and affinity for each other. Despite his school’s minuscule budget, Dancy led Valley to four wins in 2021 — its highest total in nearly a decade. Several of its losses were by a touchdown or less, and it gave JSU a solid game as well with Sanders out following surgery on his toes.
Highly regarded for his improvement of the Mississippi Valley program, Dancy re-signed with Mississippi Valley State prior to the end of the season when he could have been a candidate for several other jobs. The program has already had some recruiting success after last season, and improved facilities never hurt.