After forfeiting its last game against Jackson State to boycott their sub-par playing conditions, Grambling State players have reportedly decided to finish out the season, according to a report by the Shreveport Times.
In a meeting with several prominent former players, including Ezil Bibbs and Henry Dyer, "updated facilities" were reportedly promised in exchange for their return.
Although they agreed to play out the season, the players had no regrets about their decision not to play against Jackson State, senior safety Naquan Smith said in a statement:
As part of the athletic program at Grambling State University, the football team, took a stance on what we thought was right. We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist and if no one says anything, nothing will come of our institution. We hope Coach Eddie Robinson and his legendary players can appreciate that we stood up for what we thought was right. After coming into contact with different sources, we decided to reach out to the one person we trusted, Coach Doug Williams, with our concerns. His main statement to us was, "Go out there and play football." He also put us in contact with Jim Bernhard out of Baton Rouge.
A meeting was held with Mr. Bernhard as well as, Douglas Porter, Ezil Bibbs, Roy Jackson, Henry Dyer and Howard Davis. The meeting confirmed him [Jim Bernhard] as being committed with our best intentions at heart and that he would ensure we had updated facilities, but we had to agree to being back practicing Monday, October 21 and finish the remainder of our season. Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we've gotten here. We would like to say thank you to Coach Williams, the Legends and Mr. Jim Bernhard. Grambling has given us the opportunity to be a part of its legacy and we are only looking to improve conditions for the university and future student-athletes.
In recent weeks, details around the dire financial situation at Grambling State have begun to come to light — former head coach Doug Williams was forced to raise money independently for new flooring in the team's weight room, and there have been reports of extremely long bus rides to Kansas City (Missouri) and Indianapolis in order to save money.
The Tigers are 0-7 on the year — 0-8 with the forfeit — and have games with Texas Southern University, Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Southern University remaining.
Defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston will be at the helm the rest of the way.