Photo credit: Gordon Jackson

By Gordon Jackson

The story of Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders leaving as head football coach of Jackson State to take a similar position at Colorado University has erupted a firestorm of discussion that has gone from one extreme to another in opinions. 

Regardless of where you stand, here’s OUR Bottom Line:

There’s been a systemic injustice practiced over at least the past five decades in college sports regarding OUR colleges and athletic programs versus THEIR colleges and athletic programs. 

THEIR colleges and athletic programs have been able to recruit the majority of the top Black high school athletes in OUR community, keeping many of them away from OUR colleges and athletic programs.

Thus, THEIR colleges and highly successful athletic programs have made billions of dollars off the backs of OUR top student athletes. 

Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders comes and develops and exercise a model where he helps one of OUR college and athletic programs recruit some of the best of OUR top high school athletes, turning around one of OUR athletic programs, while shattering the myth that OUR student athletes don’t want to come to OUR colleges and athletic programs or cannot make it to the pros (example: James Houston now on the roster with the Detroit Lions).

If Coach Prime was able to stay at least another season, he may have more perfected that model; unfortunately, he did not, and we wish him the very best.

But that model is still there to be fully developed so that OUR colleges and athletic programs can continue to succeed in recruiting at least OUR fair share of OUR top high school athletes.

That model is there and available for the rest of OUR head football coaches, athletic directors and college presidents to take and build on, so that OUR colleges and athletic programs continue to build quality and nationally competitive programs with OUR student athletes. 

The critical question is: Who among OUR colleges and athletic programs has the Galvanized, Unified Tenacious Strength –or GUTS – to carry on this mantle? 

Anybody? Somebody? Nobody?

The bottom line is it’s up to US to continue doing what Coach Prime initiated, stop the hemorrhaging of OUR colleges and athletic programs losing OUR best student-athletes and reverse the process.

WE can do just that if WE focus on what WE got, including: 

OUR strong family structure, despite a slavery and Jim Crow system that has tried to decimate it.

OUR strong rich and historic institutions (OUR colleges, churches, sororities, fraternities, businesses, etc.). 

OUR Black spending power, equivalent to among the top 15 nations in the world. 

OUR rich and glorious history of successful achievements, despite a slavery and Jim Crow system that’s still trying to destroy us.

It was never meant for Coach Prime to do it alone; he has been waiting for more of US to take the baton. It’s there for us to pick up. 

Where are WE at? 

WE are what WE have been searching for all along.

Gordon Jackson Jr. is an Independent Media Professional and a former longtime Black Press editor and journalist.