Deion Sanders was clear about how he felt regarding Bethune-Cookman moving its game against Jackson State at SWAC media day in Birmingham last week.
The game has been moved from Daytona, FL to Jacksonville where it will be played at TIAA Bank Field, the 67,000-seat home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Bethune-Cookman, what is their fan base?” Sanders told the media contingent. “I’m trying to uplift the SWAC … Their attendance is how many (fans) per game? You’re depending on our fan base to come fill it.”
B-CU Director of Athletics Reggie Theus thinks it makes plenty of sense to play the game in Jacksonville.
“We took our time in vetting it out and making sure it was a game that was going to be something really great for B-CU and our fans,” Theus said. “You have to remember, we have a great fanbase in Jacksonville. We have a lot of alumni in Jacksonville.”
Reggie Theus told HBCU Sports a huge plus was the fact that Bethune-Cookman wouldn’t have to pay to play like it would if it were a “home” game.
“That’s another great reason for taking the game — it cost us nothing,” Theus said. “It costs us money (to play at Daytona Stadium) because we don’t own our facilities. It costs us money to have games in Daytona. This is a game where we have a chance to make some money. We have a chance to build our relationships with our alumni and really branch out.”
The game was also set to take place during “Biketoberfest” in Daytona, which puts a strain on local hotels.
As for Deion Sanders being “upset” at the prospect of subpar crowds, Theus wasn’t upset with the Jackson State coach.
“Thank you Deion for the national publicity, that’s great,” Theus said. “I think he’s brilliant. I mean, he brought national attention to a game that probably wouldn’t have gotten national attention.”