Disgruntled Grambling football players refuse to travel, game ag - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Disgruntled Grambling football players refuse to travel, game against Jackson St. canceled

Posted: Updated:
Grambling State University football player Naquan Smith speaks at a "State of Emergency" gathering organized by student Kimberly Monroe in Grambling, La., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/The News-Star, Dacia Idom) Grambling State University football player Naquan Smith speaks at a "State of Emergency" gathering organized by student Kimberly Monroe in Grambling, La., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/The News-Star, Dacia Idom)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Grambling's proud football program descended into further chaos Friday when the school canceled Saturday's game against Jackson State after disgruntled players refused to travel to Jackson.

Jackson State officials announced the cancellation Friday night. Athletic department spokesman Wesley Peterson told The Associated Press that Grambling officials contacted Jackson State to inform them of the decision.

Grambling spokesman Will Sutton said late Friday that the Southwestern Athletic Conference has labeled the game as a "no contest" and that university officials would have no further comment. He said players will not be available for interviews.

Grambling officials met throughout a chaotic Friday, trying to rectify the sour situation between players and administration. Apparently, nothing could be worked out so that the game could be played.

SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said according to league rules, Grambling will forfeit and the school will be fined.

"I've been in contact with the schools and they informed me the game is going to be canceled," Sharp said. "It's just a very disappointing situation when something like this happens. But we'll do everything we can with these schools to reach an understanding moving forward."

Friday's apparent player boycott was the latest in three days of upheaval for Grambling's program — which rose to prominence under coach Eddie Robinson. Several media outlets have reported that players did not attend practice Wednesday and Thursday because of issues with program and school leadership.

Grambling (0-7) has changed coaches twice in about two months. Doug Williams was fired two games into the season and replaced by George Ragsdale, who was reassigned Thursday and replaced by Dennis "Dirt" Winston.

The game is Jackson State's homecoming and could hurt the school financially. The Grambling-Jackson State matchup usually draws very well — an announced crowd of more than 21,000 attended the game in Jackson in 2011.

Jackson State's athletic budget is about $6 million and the school relies heavily on football revenue.

Jackson State spokeswoman Jean Cook said the school would still have homecoming festivities, including the homecoming parade, a football scrimmage and extended band performance. The school said it's working on a process to refund tickets.

"It's not ideal," Cook said. "But we're trying to make the best of things."

Louisiana State Sen. Rick Gallot, a Democrat from Ruston and a Grambling graduate, says he hopes a resolution can still be reached.

"I am still optimistic that not only will the situation with the scheduled game with Jackson State be resolved and the teams will play, but I am also optimistic that leadership issues and the concerns of the student-athletes will all be fleshed out and addressed and we'll be able to return to a semblance of normalcy on campus," Gallot said.

With the forfeit to Jackson State, Grambling has now lost 18 straight games against NCAA opponents.

The entire athletic program has struggled amid budget cuts and scholarship reductions. The men's basketball team was 0-28 last season.

____

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:04:24 GMT
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
  • Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:18:57 GMT
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
  • No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:29:44 GMT
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...