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Grambling Forfeits Game Against Jackson State After Football Players Refuse to Play

Grambling State Tigers
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The athletic department at Grambling State University is in chaos after football players took a stand against the school’s administration and refused to play this week’s game against Jackson State.

The situation ramped up when the school fired head coach Doug Williams last month after only the second game of the season. Williams told USA Today in a text message that he was proud of his players for “[taking] a stance.” Williams was replaced by George Ragsdale, and players’ frustrations came to a head when he was reassigned last week and replaced by Dennis “Dirt” Winston. Oddly enough, Ragsdale’s demotion was thought to have ended the players’ “strike” until they did not arrive for Friday’s bus trip to Jackson.

Having an 0-8 record on the season so far (including this weekend’s forfeit) also isn’t helping matters. Grambling has lost 18 straight games to NCAA teams — a far cry from prominence the team once enjoyed under head coach Eddie Robinson.

This weekend’s contest was supposed to be the homecoming game for Jackson State. Grambling will likely be fined for the forfeit, according to NOLA.com, but even worse are that regulations state that players could lose their scholarships over their protest.  USA Today quotes athletic director Aaron James as saying:

There’s a clause in that if you don’t go to practice, don’t go to the game, your scholarship can be revoked, but we don’t think we’re going to enforce that today.”

Among player complaints are long bus trips for away games to Indianapolis and Kansas City and poor weight room facilities. The school has stated they will be spending $32,000 on weight room renovations in the next month or so.

The game against Jackson State is not going to be rescheduled.

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