Deion Sanders, coach prime, Colorado

Many Not Happy with University of Colorado Football’s “HBCU State Of Mind” Shirts

Deion Sanders went from being the head football coach at Historically Black University Jackson State University to taking that role at the University of Colorado (UC). It hasn’t been a totally smooth ride, witness the discontent over a T-shirt.

The shirts, which display the slogan “H-B-C-U State of mind” with the ‘C-U” in the university’s buffalo logo, made waves on social media. HBCU Gameday tweeted video of a content creator reminding viewers that the HBCUs can only be historically Black, and that designation is not just granted to schools that feature a lot of Black athletes and public figures.

Many HBCU advocates believe the shirts are disrespectful to actual HBCUs. The University of Colorado Boulder officially listed that African-American students make up only 2.7% of its fall 2023 enrollment class.

Some supporters have claimed that just because the shirts signal that UC is adopting a “state of mind” that does not mean it is co-opting the experience. Others argue that the very affiliation is cultural appropriation.

“It is perfectly fine if you opted for a PWI (predominantly white institution) over an HBCU, ” shared journalist Krystal Franklin, who identifies as a Grambling State alumnus. “It starts to get weird when Black people are hell bent in turning their PWI mindset, experience, etc. into anything HBCU related—especially since you decided against attending. It’s not homage, it’s disrespect.”

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