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Deion Sanders: Jackson State in ‘crisis mode’ amid city’s water emergency

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Days before its season opener Sunday, Jackson State’s football team is relocating its players and practices as Mississippi’s capital city grapples with multiple water crises, Coach Deion Sanders said Tuesday.

“We [were] hit with a little crisis in the city of Jackson. We don’t have water,” Sanders said in a social media post. “Water means we don’t have air conditioning, we can’t use toilets, we don’t have water therefore we don’t have ice, which pretty much places a burden on the program. So right now we’re operating in crisis mode.”

Sanders said the team is making plans to relocate affected players and to ensure they have “the necessities of life for the next several days until this crisis” subsides. The Tigers are scheduled to play Florida A&M in Miami on Sunday.

Jackson State did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its plans. In response to the city’s water pressure issues, the school said Monday that it would shift classes to virtual instruction for the rest of the week. It also said “non-essential” employees will work remotely this week.

“Due to the City of Jackson’s ongoing water pressure issues, Jackson State University is currently experiencing low to no water pressure at all campus locations,” it said in a statement. “We are in contact with city, county, and state officials to determine a timeline for when this issue may be resolved.”

Other area teams reportedly have not been affected by the crisis.

Mississippi’s largest city in water crisis as treatment plant fails

Recent flooding has compounded long-standing problems with the city’s aging water system. The failure of Jackson’s largest water treatment plant left parts of the city without running water this week.

During an emergency briefing Monday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said the city would be without “reliable running water at scale” for the near future. Officials urged the city’s 150,000 residents not to drink the water or use it to cook or brush their teeth unless they boil it first.

Reeves on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, noting “the total or near total loss of water pressure throughout the City of Jackson and surrounding areas of Hinds County that receive water from the Plant has created a condition of disaster and extreme peril.”

That crisis comes as parts of Jackson scrambled Monday to deal with flooding around the Pearl River. In an emergency notice, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) said the floods had caused “water pressure issues … resulting in low or no water pressure for many Jackson customers.”

Jackson State, which hosts its first home game Sept. 17 against Grambling, has risen in prominence since Sanders was hired to lead the program in 2020. Since then, the former NFL and MLB star has attracted national attention and high-caliber recruits to the historically Black university — including Travis Hunter, who in December became the highest-rated prospect to commit to an HBCU.

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