Deion Sanders will begin his head coaching career at Jackson State, under the watchful eye of the NCAA. The program was recently penalized due to infractions committed by the last Tigers staff.
In its announcement, the NCAA revealed that “34 student-athletes practiced and competed before receiving final certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center. Because systems in place at the time did not detect or prevent the violations, the university agreed that it failed to monitor its certification process.”
A former football staff member also reportedly provided impermissible payment of $300 to a player's godmother. There were also minor violations made involving impermissible tutoring assistance to a player to help him gain eligibility after transferring.
All-in-all, the penalties are minor, but Coach Prime can't be thrilled to inherit them. As a result, the NCAA will fine Jackson State $5,000, and the program will be docked 2.5-percent of its scholarships over the next two years. Official visits will also be under restrictions, and the program is on two year probation.
The penalties are in response to violations committed between 2014-18, well before Sanders was hired by the school. It is his program now, and as unfair as it is, he's the one who has to deal with it.
"Jackson State University is committed to a culture of compliance, and the actions we took reflect that commitment," JSU athletic director Ashley Robinson said in a school release, via the Clarion Ledger. "I will like to commend my compliance staff and let the record show we responded quickly, investigated vigorously, immediately self-reported the violations, and independently took decisive corrective steps."
Jackson State football is not playing this fall. The Tigers are scheduled to begin their season in the spring of 2021, with the opener set for Feb. 21 against Edward Waters.
Deion Sanders has already hit the ground running with the program, landing two early recruits just weeks into his tenure. The school will pay the Pro Football Hall of Famer $300,000 per year, in an incentive-laden deal.