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Deion Sanders Colorado Buffaloes and The Illusion of Inclusion

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College sports has been on fire since Deion Sanders took over as coach at Colorado University. The Colorado Buffaloes football team has garnered national attention since Deion Sanders became head coach. If you’ve forgotten how we got here, let’s go back in time. Deion, or Coach Prime as he’s called, became the head coach of Jackson St. University some three years ago. While at Jackson, Deion took the team to three championships, winning two of the three in the (Southwest Atlantic Conference), the SWAC. The Jackson St. Tigers were on fire for three seasons while Coach Prime was the coach. 

In a 60-minute interview, Deion said

He wanted to change lives and the perspective of HBCU football and do right by these kids.” – 

60 Minutes 

Deion Changed The Landscape of Black College Football

Marcus Smith/Sports Illustrated; Styling by Dominique Jasmin-Pasley

Deion also changed the landscape of black college football by bringing in big corporate sponsors. Big-name companies like Walmart built the JSU Tigers a new field and locker room. Pepsi, American Airlines, and Proctor and Gamble became new sponsors of Jackson St., which they called the Prime Effect. Prime went on to significantly impact a city that is entrenched in poverty. As the 60-minute interview pressed on, the interviewer said, “What happens if a Power 5 school comes calling?” Deion responded, “I’m going to have to entertain it; I would be a fool not to.” Coach Prime always knew he would eventually elevate to the elite collegiate level. Jackson St was just a stepping stone to make that happen. This brings us to our current situation and how he arrived at the University of Colorado.

Deion Sanders going to Colorado has managed to give White America the illusion that this is a post-racial society when it’s not. For some reason, Black folks have fallen for the illusion that we’re welcome everywhere we go. We not! Niggas somehow have found fandom in Colorado Buffalos. Celebrities showing up on the sidelines, fans buying merchandise, paying $400 a ticket, increasing TV ratings, and pure word of mouth about the Deion effect in college sports. While HBCUs lack funding, they also lack total support from sportscasters, sports magazines, TV, radio, celebrities, and major NCAA conferences, including their power four black athletic conferences CIAA, MEAC, SIAC, and SWAC. Power four conferences have to do more for HBCUs athletics. The Illusion of Inclusion keeps black collegiate sports in a ditch and a financial deficit.

College Coaches and Announcers Whispering Hate

After landing on the campus of CU, turmoil ensued; Coach Prime fired the whole coaching staff and got rid of most of the players. NCAA Division One college sports started whispering that Deion Sanders was crazy to fire the entire Colorado Buffaloes coaching staff and get rid of current players. The restructuring had begun, and white coaches, announcers, and the general public in college sports were pissed at Deion Sanders. A confident black man is one thing, but to be confident and the head of a Power 5 school is another. All the black-and-white critics talked horribly about Deion Sanders’s judgment, firing the coaching staff and telling current players to get in the transfer portal.

Sports commentator Paul Finebaum was the first to sound the alarm. He said, “Deion winning at Boulder is becoming an epidemic.” Finebaum and other white commentators felt Coach Prime was changing how college football is run, which is a problem. Black sports journalist Jason Whitlock was another hater in sheep’s clothing. He stated, “Prime is masking his confidence in insecurity as head coach and using Christianity as a tool to do it.” These commentators were expressing their upmost dislike for him.

Do You Believe, was one of Deion’s chants to his Colorado team. The white guys are all saying, “If he gets his guys to believe, that is a problem, and this could change the trajectory of recruiting in college sports,” one announcer said. They’re scared that most, if not all, black athletes would want to play for Coach Prime and look at other superior white coaches as second-tier coaches to Coach Prime.

Big Time College Sports is a White Owned Institution

Big-time Division One college football, for the most part, is a white-run institution. Schools like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Clemson, UCLA, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Notre Dame, and other legacy-winning institutions are all PWIs(predominantly white institutions); the student body, the alums, booster club, and staff are primarily white. The SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big 12 athletic departments generate millions of dollars in revenue for these institutions. But only a tiny percentage of the money do players ever see, especially when most teams have a large black student-athlete population.

People around the country are paying homage to the Buffaloes for their short accomplishments. But the illusion of inclusion would make you believe all these institutions mentioned above were part of the black cultural diaspora. Black players fill teams and bring in millions of dollars. Yet, it never translates into big money for the black economy or black athletes at these white institutions. Colorado’s Booster Club and alums raised 28 million dollars to pay Deion’s salary after initially only having 3 million. Like most HBCUs, Jackson doesn’t have a wealthy alumni to give back to the school. That’s why most black colleges are always underfunded and underserved they don’t have wealthy alumni.

Boulder vs. Jackson Economic Disparities

Deion is living in a bubble in Colorado. Beyond the stadium’s walls sits a 99% white and 1% black population, yet you see 90% black players on the field. The 2023 cost of living calculator for Jackson vs. Boulder found that.

A salary of $90,000 in Jackson, Mississippi, would increase to $184,401 in Boulder, Colorado. – 

Cost of Living Calculator 2023

Boulder is damn near 50% more expensive than Jackson, Mississippi. The cost of living is higher in Boulder, yet, as a result, they have the financial infrastructure and system to handle the influx of millions of dollars from the college into the city. The Prime Effect, or the Midas Touch, as we like to call it, has brought millions into the city. Boulder has the businesses and financial stability to handle the additional millions flowing into the city from the increase in revenue.

Jackson Didn’t have The Economic Infrastructure for Wealth

Deion, who now resides at the University of Colorado, is bringing in millions of dollars, helping to increase Boulder’s local economy. After the TCU game, small businesses saw an uptick in sales due to the thousands of people who spent money with local small businesses. Food, merchandise, alcohol, and entertainment sales went up drastically. The dollar bouncing 5 to 7 times created a multiplier effect. If the city did 2 million dollars in sales for a weekend, the multiplier effect increases those sales by 50%, making that 2 million 4 million in a single weekend. The money stayed in the community for quite some time after the Texas Christian University game.

The Black population is not like other racial groups. Money comes in the form of wages and then leaves the community. – Raymond Haysbert, Co-Owner of Parks Sausage

Jackson, Ms. did not have the economic infrastructure to handle the Deion effect. The dollar’s ability to bounce in Jackson eight to ten times was nonexistent. Black-owned businesses could not financially benefit because the city is so poor. The Powernomics principles that Dr. Claud Anderson laid out state that “you need the dollar to bounce 8 to 10 times, and vertical integration to gain power and wealth.” The pipeline of money has to be vertically integrated from the school to businesses for the city to have economic power. Also, it’s alleged that the educational elite at the school was skimming cash out of the school for their financial gain. Which had a financial effect on the school as well. Most of this occurred during Deion’s tenure as head coach.

Pan-Africanist and Black Economist Schools of Thought

Dr,. Umar Johnson- Pan Africanist
Dr. Boyce Watkins – Economist

Pan-Africanist Umar Johnson and Black Economist Dr. Boyce Watkins felt that Jackson St. would have benefited more by Deion staying on board at the university. Both schools of thought think that Deion sold out the black community and HBCUs. His leaving Jackson helped further the white power structure by taking black talent to Boulder. The University of Colorado, a 99% white town and 99% white institution, benefits more economically from the Deion effect. Hard-core black supporters felt this was the first time HBCUs could get their do. And Deion was the star power we needed to make that happen. He sold out Jackson St. and HBCUs in the eyes of Umar and Boyce.

Black economists felt that the black dollar going into Jackson St. would help restore the city of Jackson, Mississippi, and grow the black business economy. Pan-Africanist Umar Johnson took a different school of thought. He believes that this is about politics and economics. He posed the question, “Who benefits from this?” He said, “The white power structure benefits from all that Deion does.” People who are die-hard HBCU fans and supporters of black college football seen a chance to make HBCUs great. Now that Deion has gone to the white university, that’s unlikely.

The NIL ( Name Image and Likeness)

College sports have been in a hissy fit over players getting money from their name, image, and likeness. A top-rated player like Shedeur Sanders has already made nearly ten million dollars off his likeness. He owns a Maybach and stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500 watch with over thirty diamonds. The boy paid, you hear me? The white folks in college athletics are already talking slick about how flashy he’s been with his jewels and car.

“He just needs to focus on getting into the film room than worry about his jewels,” Tom Brady said. People do not favor these young men, or, to be exact, these young black men getting all this money while playing college sports. Shedeur is cashing in, bringing a lot of jealousy and hate among other players and coaches. The white athletic community doubted his talents now that he’s winning they can’t stand to see him play. 

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

The NIL can break the poverty cycle for black players in collegiate sports. Some people would like to limit the amount of money some players receive because they are so young and black. The women’s college star Angle Reese earns upwards or close to a million a year through her NIL deals. She has been catching hell for acting too black and having too much swag. Angle doesn’t feel the need to sign a WNBA contract, saying, “I can make more money not signing a contract.” She sees the benefit of staying independent and’ll make more money using her NIL than signing with the WNBA.
The NIL is pushing black kids into a status of wealth they otherwise wouldn’t get until they hit the league. And white folks and white institutions don’t like it one bit. The Illusion of Inclusion has black athletes thinking these universities support their success when they really don’t.

Power and The Super Black Athlete

In the 90’s, the black athlete was the premiere superior athlete in the world. Jordan dominated basketball for the Chicago Bulls, Mike Tyson dominated boxing, and Deion Sanders dominated football in the NFL. Team owners like Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, and big-time boxing promoter Bob Arum made hundreds of millions off the black male athlete. Even though Jordan, Sanders, and Tyson made hundreds of millions in the sports they played, the owners of these teams made billions over time.

These black super athletes helped secure white power for Reinsdorf, Jones, and Arum by becoming mega-millionaires and billionaires. They grew more powerful over time, while these athletes grew more dependent upon the system. They have no power to fight against the white power elite, even if they want to. Black super athletes gain stature, money, and fame but no power. In the book The 40 Million Dollar Slave, written by William C. Rhoden, he alludes to these athletes not having any real power even though they make millions of dollars. The author postulates many accusations in the book, but one that sticks out the most is when he states

Is the ultra-rich black athlete still a slave beholden to white ownership so much that many of these slaves have willingly remained on the plantation?” 

William C. Rhoden 40 Million Dollar Slaves

The Price for Being a Slave

Kyrie Irving was a prime example of being a high price slave during the pandemic. The Brooklyn Nets and the state of New York suspended him for not getting vaccinated. They also limited his ability to play outside New York because he didn’t comply with team rules. Even though he makes millions of dollars, Kyrie had to answer to team owners because of his rebellion against the system. Joe Tsai, Asian and owner of the Nets, treated Kyrie like a slave and talked very nasty about him for not following team and league rules. No matter how much money you make, black athletes are only good for kicking, running, hitting, and shooting balls that help the institution of the white elites stay in power and amass enormous wealth.

Sanders, Jordan, and Tyson were just tools for the advancement of white power and white wealth in America. I never heard much about these men helping push the black community forward. Did You? Black super athletes in professional and college sports have no power. No matter how much swag and style Deion exudes, he is just an employee of Colorado University. Coach Prime is living  the Illusion of Inclusion in the American sports culture.

From Prison to The Sports Industrial Complex

Have you heard of the Prison Industrial Complex? Probably not. The Prison Industrial Complex involves targeting black children and pipelining them from elementary school straight to prison. The mass incarceration of black males is big business in America. Traps get set to ensure that black males are convicted of crimes and sent straight to prison. Selling drugs, drug use, murder, narcotics, robbery, prostitution, and theft are all part of the trappings of young black males. In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander states some startling facts that have and continue to rock the legal system.

Many offenders are tracked for prison at early ages, labeled as criminals in their teen years, and then shuttled from their decrepit, underfunded inner city schools to brand-new, high-tech prisons. Today’s lynching is a felony charge. Today’s lynching is incarceration. Today’s lynch mobs are professionals. They have a badge; they have a law degree. A felony is a modern way of saying, ‘I’m going to hang you up and burn you.’ Once you get that F, you’re on fire.” –

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Sports Industrial Complex

From the Prison Industrial Complex to the Sports Industrial Complex, the same applies to how black children are herded like cattle into the system of sports. The system entails finding the best black athletes in the country and pipelining them from the inner city schools straight to big-time white institutions to play college sports. Travis Hunter is an example of the Sports Industrial Complex. He was the number one top recruit out of high school in the country for defensive backs and almost ended up going straight to a big-time white university. But Coach Prime recruited him into the Jackson St football program. Eventually, when it was all said and done, he still ended up playing for a major Power 5 school at Colorado University.

Sports Is Big Business

Sports in America is big business. Baseball, football, and basketball are all part of the fabric of American culture. A lot of students start getting scouted as early as elementary school. College coaches are betting on kids at an early age that they’ll play for their school in the future. The fame, glitz, and glamour are pushed into these kids’ faces so they’ll get hooked on big-time colleges early in life. Little League World Series, AAU Championship basketball, and major pro youth football camps help instill loyalty to the white establishment.

Youth athletes learn early on who signs the checks. When I was a teen, I felt like if I could get a scholarship to Syracuse or Georgetown University to play big-time college basketball, I could write my ticket to fame, fortune, and wealth. My loyalty to the white power structure and the Sports Industrial Complex was unmatched. Pipelining kids from high school to big-time white institutions is how these colleges stay in business. Basketball, football, and track are the three main sports that black folks dominate.

Deion is a product of the Sports Industrial Complex. He benefited from the mass importation of being a top black athlete going to a big-time white institutions like Florida St. Luckily for him, he went into the pros shortly after and continued to dominate. Mass incarceration is the influx of criminals into prison. And mass importation is the mass influx of black athletes into college sports. Both help to fund the white establishment, giving them wealth, power, and control over the black cultural experience in society.


Sanders has proven he can go anywhere, coach, and win. Many black people look at athletes to save the race, but where have black athletes saved our race from white oppression in American history? Nowhere. The reality is that even though he is living in the Illusion of Inclusion at the University of Colorado, he is just a cog in a big wheel. As an employee, he has no power to effect change in this white-controlled sports industry. He’s ‘The Spook That Sat by The Door,’ intending to not overthrow white power.

Prime got coached by white folks, paid by white folks, and praised by white folks. It would only be fitting that he return to what he’s comfortable with. Coaching at a big-time white institution is what’s normal for Deion cause he played for one at Florida St. He’s been in the War machine his whole life, playing football at a major university and pro sports. Subconsciously, he was always going to go back to a white daddy, i.e., big-time white institutions. Are we in a post-Martin Luther King racial society? I don’t think so.

You may be saying, “You’re being over the top.” But the subconscious mind has a mind of its own. You will always revert to your natural habitat because that is the environment you grew up in. We still think America is a post-racial society that welcomes black folks with open arms. Nope, you’re still the handmaids, the help, the babysitters, the entertainment, the breeders, the scapegoats, coons, the sambos, labeled criminals, artisans, and the traders to the race for white society. Deion and other black coaches in the NFL, NBA, and college sports are just instruments of the white elite to continue to stay in power.

When White America throws us crumbs to participate in the circus of entertainment its all an illusion. You believe you have a stake in America until they close the curtain and change the rules that go with it. Deion Sanders is just a tool like so many black athletes, black coaches, black journalists, and black sportscasters to help push the narrative of the Sports Industrial complex, with the super-black athlete being the star of the show.

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  1. Great article by Cool Water. The title alone is really thought provoking. I think it is possible that Coach Prime can have an impact in terms of the number of quality black coaches hired at predominantly white institutions that have the potential for fostering a good to elite football program. It’s harder to imagine him having a larger impact as it relates to diversity and inclusion and in Colorado even with all the revenue he is currently bringing in. This article raises a number of great questions and the author provides meaningful insights in regard to Sander’s impact. It is definitely worth reading.

  2. Cool Water, awesome article, my brother!

    When you mentioned the book, The 40 Million Dollar Slave, I said, “Bingo!”

    The “Prime Effect” is very real & salute to one of my heros! I patterned my style of cornerback play after him in high school, and college.

    However, the prison industrial complex & the sports industrial complex are very real too.

    Continue sharing thought provoking articles with the world.

    One Love!

  3. That’s deep, he’s single handily changing up the whole viewpoint of HBCU’s with so much stress along the way.