Opinion: Deion Sanders’ star power is paying off in big way for Jackson State

JACKSON, Miss. — Like pretty much any and every coach, Deion Sanders has a whiteboard in his office at Jackson State. Yet the board mounted above the coffee maker and microwave, a few feet from his desk, is hardly typical. There are no X’s and O’s scribbled on the board to diagram plays.

Sanders’ board contains a list of 20 items — either generic products or the names of specific stores. These are marketing targets.

"Go get ‘em," Sanders said, alluding to the directive for a marketing firm, SMAC Entertainment, enlisted to pursue potential deals. "That’s the way my mind thinks."

Few, if any, can sell it quite like Sanders, who has never been shy about pushing the envelope and won’t stop now.

This is what Jackson State knew it was getting in hiring the electric Pro Football Hall of Famer to become “Coach Prime.” And his star power is already paying off in a big way.

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A university spokesman told USA TODAY Sports on Friday that the Tigers athletic department has generated $185 million in new marketing and promotional deals since Sanders was hired in September to revitalize the football program — and more — at the HBCU school. Surely, this is “The Deion Effect” that athletic director Ashley Robinson stated during a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports.

The way Sanders sees it, it is only the beginning.

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