New stadium for Jackson State put on back burner by lawmakers

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Jackson State head football coach Deion Sanders continues to vie for a new stadium for the Tigers, but if he still expects state lawmakers to allocate money for it, it does not look as if it will be happening this year.

SB 3154, which would have provided a $40 million appropriation in seed money for Jackson State to build a new stadium, only lasted two days in the 2022 legislative session before dying in committee.

Back in February, Coach Prime made it known that the university was not going to be paying for a new stadium.

“[This stadium] is for the city,” Sanders said. “We ain’t paying for it. I’m letting you know. It’s going to be free because we made a lot of money for this city and we want some of it back.”

According to Visit Jackson, the Tigers’ 2021 fall football season resulted in $30 million of economic impact.

Restaurants, hotels, and businesses prospered as the Tigers averaged an FCS record-breaking 42,293 fans per home game. To put that into perspective, Ole Miss averaged 47,848, Mississippi State averaged 45,252, and Southern Miss averaged 25,235. 

“We cannot keep enough JSU apparel in supply,” Richard Shaw, owner of Dynastics Screen Printing, told Sports Illustrated. “With Deion [Sanders] coming here, I wish I could keep up with everything. But, my business has doubled and I thank God for it.” 

Even though the appropriations bill did not make it during this year’s session, Senator John Horhn explained where a new stadium could be if lawmakers pass a bill next year.

“We had several selections, but the top two are across from WLBT actually on Jefferson Street and also on the JSU Metro Parkway on land that the foundation of the university owns,” he explained.

During the 2021 session, legislators approved a quarter of a million dollars to study the possibility of building the new stadium. Horhn said that the study has shown that at least $90 million will be needed.

The Tigers have played in Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, which is in desperate need of repairs, since 1970.

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