In early March, Prep Rally wrote about Deion Sanders' move to completely fund two charter schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Now it appears that Sanders may be trying to find a way to make the schools extremely high profile, and possibly even lucrative for himself (or the schools, depending on how he arranges compensation).
According to TMZ and discussed further on the TheOldCoach message boards, Sanders is in the later stages of planning a reality show about his job coaching the football program at his Prime Prep Academy, with the show focusing on his work coach on the field and dealing with his children off it. Sanders later confirmed that he was developing a show in an interview Dallas sports radio station KTCK The Ticket.
"You guys need to go get this movie, 'Waiting for Superman,'" Sanders told KTCK. "Marry that with 'Friday Night Lights,' and you've got what Prime is about to do. That's all I'm saying. Get your seatbelt on in front of your couch and get ready..."
Lest anyone doubt the show's bona fides (hey, this is TMZ after all), Sanders' reality show will allegedly be executive produced by Tracey Edmonds, a Hollywood insider and ex-wife of Eddy Murphy who has produced a handful of successful television shows and movies. TMZ also reported that Sanders and Edmonds are working with a major television studio on the project, which will help ensure that it doesn't fall by the wayside.
Considering the fact that Prime Prep Academy hasn't even opened yet -- it will being operations for the 2012-13 school year -- lining up a reality show based on its football program is an ambitious task. It also may speak to how Sanders plans to fund the operations of the school beyond his own personal fortune. While there is no question that the NFL Hall of Famer has had to pump a significant amount of personal earnings into its development, having a lucrative reality TV contract could certainly help offset those investments.
Yet, the potential show also could raise red flags for UIL, the governing body of public school athletics in the state of Texas. As stipulated by UIL bylaws (and similar regulations in other states), no program is allowed to actively recruit potential athletes away from other schools. While Prime Prep's recruitment of players may not be deemed "active", all the attention that the school is getting -- and will continue to get with a television show -- may serve to turn the heads of easily impressed teenagers.
For now, Sanders is shrugging off those concerns, all while insisting that the Dallas coaches themselves were actively working to discourage their current athletes from transferring to Prime Prep.
"We're getting a lot of hate though, as usual," Sanders told KTCK, as reported by the Dallas Morning News. "You got a lot of coaches from DISD that are upset that there's a new school coming to town and our kids can come from everywhere. So they're telling these kids 'You can't play for them. You're not going to be eligible. You're not going to be legal to play.' And that's a lie.
"But it's not affecting our enrollment. They're enrolling as we speak."
Which side proves to be correct about Prime Prep and its future remains to be seen. If fact, if Sanders' plans for a reality show move ahead as scheduled, we'll all be able to see that play out on television in front of us.
- Deion Sanders