Deion Sanders and Jackson State are garnering national attention on a weekly basis, but they’ve also got the attention of some heavy hitters in their own town.
The Jackson City Council unanimously approved a resolution backing the construction of a new football stadium on Tuesday, in hopes of helping keep Sanders in town for the long haul.
“We’ve had so much success with our coach, Deion Sanders Prime Time, and it’s just the perfect time, if we’re going to get a new stadium, to start talking… and let’s try to make it a reality,” Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes said via WLBT. “We’re all hoping that Coach Prime stays in the city for a long period of time, but a lot of colleges and universities are trying to get his talents.”
“Maybe if we can show, as a state, that we are committed to him staying, and to the new stadium, maybe it would help encourage him to stay,” he said.
Jackson State currently plays at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium a few miles away from its campus. The cavernous stadium has a capacity around 60k, and JSU routinely leads the nation in attendance at the FCS level and out-paces many Power Five programs.
And Power Five programs, much like the Jackson City Council, have taken note of what Deion Sanders has done at Jackson State. Which is part of the reason the local officials think now might be the time to get the ball rolling.
“We’re talking economic impact in the millions,” Councilman Vernon Hartley said. “If and when he decides to move on, it’s going to be a loss. We need to go ahead and take advantage of all the things we can do right now.”
There has been a push for years to get a new stadium for Jackson State. One died in the Mississippi legislature earlier this year. And current governor Tate Reeves has already stated his opinion on the matter.
“I don’t even like the state building stadiums with general fund tax dollars,” Reeves said last month. “I’m not really excited about Jackson State building a football stadium.”