Deion Sanders rips NCAA’s handling of mental health issues amid eligibility denial for two-time transfer

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Coach Deion Sanders sounded off on the NCAA’s recent ruling that denied immediate eligibility to Colorado Buffaloes player Tyler Brown. 

Brown, an offensive lineman, started his college football career at Louisiana and later transferred to Jackson State to play for Sanders. 

Brown has faced a host of issues related to mental health over the course of his playing career and cited those challenges in hopes of being allowed to immediately be eligible to play at Colorado — even as a two-time transfer.

The NCAA’s decision to deny Brown’s waiver did not sit well with Coach Prime.

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Deion Sanders speaks with reporters

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders responds to questions during a news conference after a practice Aug. 4, 2023, in Boulder, Colo.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

“It don’t make sense,” Sanders said during a press conference Tuesday.

Sanders added that the NCAA’s ruling effectively ostracizes Brown.

“Some things just don’t make sense,” Sanders said. “You say you really care about mental health, but when you have someone really dealing with mental health, there’s a problem. Then, ostracizing him and not allowing him to do what he’s blessed and gifted to do and the thing that presents him peace, that’s trying for a young man.”

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Earlier this year, the NCAA voted to limit waivers for players transferring a second time.

Per the new guidelines, athletes only receive immediate eligibility on their second transfer for a physical or mental health reason or “exigent circumstances.”

Deion Sanders speaks to reporters

Colorado football head coach Deion Sanders at a press conference at UCHealth Champions Center In Boulder, Colo., Aug. 4, 2023.  (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Brown posted a video that detailed some of the mental health battles he has faced.

“I don’t want to go into a dark place again because I don’t have football,” he said in the video this week. He also mentioned that he has taken anxiety medication and antidepressants since he was a teenager.

Brown performed well in his most recent season under Sanders at Jackson State, earning first-team All-SWAC honors last year. He was also named a third-team All-American.

Deion Sanders at spring game

Head coach Deion Sanders of the Colorado Buffaloes watches as his team warms up prior to its spring game at Folsom Field April 22, 2023, in Boulder, Colo.  (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

When Sanders decided to take the head coaching job in Boulder, Brown decided to follow him.

“It’s like, ‘Wow, do you really care, or are you just saying you care?’” Sanders said of how the NCAA decides to deal with mental health issues. “Are you caring when it’s convenient? Or when it’s profitable?”

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North Carolina receiver Tez Walker’s waiver was also denied, along with Florida State defender Darrell Jackson Jr.’s.

The Buffaloes open the season against TCU on Sept. 2.

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