Prime Time in Big 12: Colorado coach Deion Sanders says he is 'judged on a different scale'

Colorado coach Deion Sanders took some time at the start of his first Big 12 media days appearance to give props to some of the other coaches in the league

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Colorado coach Deion Sanders said Wednesday at his first Big 12 media days appearance that he has to operate under an entirely different umbrella when it comes to expectations.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame player is going into his second season coaching in a power conference.

“I’m judged on a different scale,” Sanders said. “My wins are totally different than your wins. Your wins, you just judge football, that’s why I start out (talking about) education and academics and so forth. I have to give you those things so you understand there’s a greater scope.”

Sanders touted the team's GPA, the 16 Buffs coaches and staff members with NFL experience, a 20% increase in student applications to Colorado and a “crazy” economic impact for the school.

After Sanders led HBCU school Jackson State to a 27-6 record over three seasons, including 23-3 with back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference titles the last two, he got off to a fast start at Colorado in the Pac-12, winning his first three games last season before going on to finish 4-8. Colorado was picked to finish 11th in the Big 12 preseason media poll.

“I can’t win nine games and our GPA suffers,” Sanders said. “Our GPA can’t be high and we lose another eight games. We can’t not go and grab high school players, and you’ve got a bunch of guys in the portal, out of the portal getting incarcerated. My wins are different. We have to win in every area. That’s the way we’re judged.”

Sanders' sons, senior quarterback Shedeur and graduate safety Shilo, also took part in Big 12 media days.

Shedeur Sanders threw for a school-record 3,230 yards with 27 touchdowns in his first season at the FBS level while completing 69% of his passes. But he was also the most-sacked quarterback (52) in the country.

“I remember first media day when I was in HBCU, I said we won’t lose the game. I’m undefeated in the SWAC, so I already know what the expectation comes with, I know we’re everybody’s Super Bowl," he said. "So, I always stay level-headed, stay grounded because I would never want to be that guy, look back, and not being able to take advantage of the moment that we have right now.”

Shilo Sanders is going through a bankruptcy case he filed last October because he faces a nearly $11.9 million judgment stemming from an alleged assault against a Dallas school security guard who was trying to confiscate his phone in 2015. Shilo Sanders, now 24, was 15 at the time.

The security guard said he suffered a broken spine and nerve damage after getting elbowed in the neck. He immediately filed a police report, sued in a Texas court the next year and was awarded the judgement after Shilo Sanders didn’t show up for hearings in 2022.

“Honestly, that kind of stuff, you’re not gonna win a court case on social media,” Shilo Sanders said when asked about it Wednesday. "And at the end of the day everybody is gonna know the truth about everything. So there’s no point just going out of my way to just do that. So everything’s good.”

Deion Sanders also spoke about Shedeur being recruited by some of his fellow Big 12 coaches — Gus Malzahn when the current UCF coach was still at Auburn — and the younger Sanders playing in high school for current Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire.

“I’m just highlighting a couple of the coaches because they’ve been so kind, they’ve been so considerate. They’ve been so wonderful to me,” Deion Sanders said. ”I remember going there to Auburn and (Malzahn) just has been the same consistent man since. He’s a phenomenal coach.”

Sanders called both Mike Gundy, who is going into his 20th season at Oklahoma State, and Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark legends. He also expressed his love for McGuire.

“Joey has been the same consistent great coach that he’s always been. Joey, if you out there, I love you, I appreciate you. You keep on doing what you do,” Sanders said. "Except when we come to play you, I want you to keep on doing your thing. But I love you, man, I really do. And you’re doing a wonderful work down there at Texas Tech.”

The Buffaloes, who open the season Aug. 29 at home against FCS power North Dakota State, play at Texas Tech on Nov. 9.

The Big 12 will be a 16-team league with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah officially becoming members at the start of August.

“We have 16 great football coaches,” Yormark said. “I’ve gotten to know Coach Prime really well. I love his energy and I love his passion for what he does. Obviously excited for Colorado coming back into the conference. He’s a football legend. And let’s face it, you know, there’s a big audience that follows him. And that’s going to benefit the Big 12 and all of our schools."

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