Trending Topics

Deion Sanders’ Jackson State University Legacy Includes $800K Bill for Pulling Out of Southern Heritage Classic Lawsuit, New Report Reveals

When Deion Sanders resigned from his position at Jackson State University, he not only left the HBCU to search for a new head football coach, he also left the school with a six-figure ding on its books because of a move he’d advocated for. 

BOULDER, COLORADO – APRIL 22: Head coach Deion Sanders of the Colorado Buffaloes watches as his team warms up prior to their spring game at Folsom Field on April 22, 2023 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

A new report by the Clarion Ledger newspaper reveals Jackson State University settled a lawsuit In October 2022 with Summit Management Corporation to the tune of $800,000 over the Jackson, Mississippi, school pulling out of its longtime rivalry game against another HBCU at a neutral site. Initially, Summit Management Corporation sued Jackson State for $1.8 million in lost earnings after the institution decided not to continue participating in the annual Southern Heritage Classic game against Tennessee State University. 

Sanders, a retired NFL and MBL player with a reported net worth of $45 million, took on the role as head football coach at Jackson State University in 2020, where he coached for two full seasons. He resigned from Jackson State in December 2022 to take the head coach at the University of Colorado. 

Sanders and Jackson State athletics director Ashley Robinson announced in February 2022 that the school would not be honoring the final two years — 2023 and 2024 — of its five-year contract to play in Southern Heritage Classic. Sanders cited mounting financial costs as the reason for pulling from the game. He shared that the costs — from transportation, meals and accommodations for the team and administration — was a great financial commitment for Jackson State University, an institution with mounting debt.

“Seven buses for the band. We have four buses with all our people. And who else goes? Administration. Hotel accommodations. Food, all that. … By the time we get back, we’re broke,” Sanders told reporters at the time of the announcement. 

The decision breached the Jackson State’s contract with Summit Management Corporation, which organized the event. In March 2022, the organization sued JSU and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). JSU was sued for breach of contract while SWAC was sued for “wrongful interference with contractual obligations.” According to the Clarion Ledger newspaper, Summit argued that SWAC persuaded JSU to participate in the SWAC Classic instead of the Heritage Classic. Summit’s lawsuit with SWAC has not yet been settled. 

JSU officials backing the decision, none have commented on the lawsuit or its settlement. 

What people are saying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top