UPDATE: Grambling State confirmed on Friday evening that the football team will not travel to play Jackson State. The game will not be made up, but Jackson State will hold an open scrimmage and offer a ticket refund.
With the Grambling State football program suffering from severe financial woes, players have decided not to travel for the Tigers' game at Jackson State this Saturday, according to the Gramblinite.
We do have a band sighting though. Maybe they'll play at halftime and put some pads on against Jackson State pic.twitter.com/AGTgiZ89ua— Sean Isabella (@ST_IsabellaTNS) October 18, 2013
The program is currently a mess. Head coach Doug Williams, a popular figure among players who has clashed with administration on more than one occasion, was fired earlier this year after securing funds for a badly needed rubber floor in Grambling's weight room, as revealed by Sports Illustrated. Williams didn't filter the money through channels approved by school president Dr. Frank Pogue and athletic director Aaron James. After the firing, the new floors weren't installed, leaving players feeling betrayed twice over.
George Ragsdale, who was serving as interim coach after Williams' firing, was relieved of his duties Thursday and will be reassigned within the athletic department. This comes after Grambling players walked out of a meeting with the university president and athletic director and boycotted practice earlier in the week. In addition to the new floor that was denied at the last minute and the firing of Williams, players have been upset over the lack of air travel on long-distance road trips, per Sports Illustrated.
Player strike is now currently in Day 3 as Grambling team members fail to show up to bus for 3:30 departure to Jackson State— Sean Isabella (@ST_IsabellaTNS) October 18, 2013
Pogue commented on the players' actions, according to the Monroe News Star, saying he supports the program and doesn't believe the players are in control:
"We're going to Jackson and we're going to play Jackson State for their homecoming," said Pogue, who added he would be in the stands Saturday night.
Sources said those who don't make the trip "could" be in for repercussions. Grambling is also on the hook financially if it is forced to forfeit
Pogue said he is still calling the shots.
"I don't see the players as being in control," Pogue said when discussing the events of this past week, including the team's walkout Tuesday. " I have never lost control of an institution."
Grambling defensive back Dwight Amphy told SI that Grambling's players have been giving 100-percent effort, and that the school should do the same:
"We knew what we were getting ourselves into when we came to Grambling. We new we weren't going to have all this and that, the best stuff. We knew we weren't going to LSU," Amphy says. "But it could be better, even just a little bit better. Because it is not like we don't have the athletes to compete, not like we aren't trying to the best of our ability."
The Grambling story is an indication of the impact of cuts to higher ed nationwide. An extreme case, but not necessarily unique— Brandon Larrabee (@TeamSpeedKills) October 18, 2013
Thing to remember about Grambling: it's a public school. If the school is having trouble surviving, some of that is on the state of LA.— David Wunderlich (@Year2) October 18, 2013
There are 11 publicly funded institutions in LA that have a D1 NCAA program. How many of those teams aren't around in 5 years?— Pod Katt (@valleyshook) October 18, 2013
And not to get too political here, but Gov Bobby Jindal has DECIMATED smaller-school higher education in Louisiana. He bears some blame— Patrick Netherton (@PTNetherton) October 18, 2013
against great odds, hbcu’s have done GREAT work developing otherwise ignored talents. if the hbcu can’t do it…oh man, we got problems.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) October 18, 2013