It was an empty football practice at Grambling State Wednesday afternoon, and the team won't be traveling to its game on Saturday, according to a report from The Grambliner.
BREAKING: Members of the GSU football team have chosen NOT travel to Jackson State University for their Homecoming game tomorrow.— The Gramblinite (@TheGramblinite) October 18, 2013
This was further confirmed by Gene Ponti of KTVE, who showed us photographic evidence that the team wasn't traveling:
Things got started earlier this week, as Matt Vines of the Shreveport Times reported that no players attended practice after they walked out of a meeting with school administrators on Tuesday.
Vines went on to report on Thursday that the no-show was enough to convince administrators that it was time to change coaches. The university parted ways with interim coach Greg Ragsdale.
Source: Grambling interim football coach George Ragsdale is fired.— Matt Vines (@MattRVines) October 17, 2013
The report stated that players were displeased with the way they were treated during what has been a trying season. The meeting was called to discuss the growing concerns including reasons behind bus travel to games in Kansas City and Indianapolis, the state of facilities, a lack of meals on road trips and the change of administration earlier in the season. Present at the meeting were president Frank Pogue, athletic director Aaron James, interim coach George Ragsdale and student government president Jordan Harvey. Vines reported:
University spokesman Will Sutton said the meeting was intended to show the administration’s support for the team and said “some” players left.
“(The administration) knew that emotions were raw,” Sutton said. “No matter what, it was going to be a challenge for the team to feel good after this season and last season."
Grambling fired head football coach Doug Williams on Sept. 11 after the Tigers lost the first two games of the season, which added frustration with leadership to an already struggling team.
Grambling is currently 0-7 under the Ragsdale's direction and was shut out 48-0 by Alcorn State last week. The Tigers have lost 17 straight games— a mark that includes last season's 1-10 record in the 2012 season under Williams.
According to a report Vines wrote for USA Today, the past has not always been dark for the Tigers, who won a SWAC title in 2011 and has 13 national black college titles.
The lack of morale and frustration is explainable given the losing trend and inconsistency in leadership. However, the show must somehow go on for Grambling as a game is scheduled at Jackson State (5-2) on Saturday.
It is going to take more than a show of support for Grambling’s program to get back on any sort of track.