Grambling State Forfeits Game After Players Refuse to Travel

Alan BlackAnalyst IIIOctober 18, 2013

Sep 08, 2012; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Grambling State Tigers quarterback D.J. Williams (4) hands off the ball to running back Dawrence Roberts (43) during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Grambling State has been embroiled in controversy, with the football team boycotting two consecutive practices this week. That led to interim head coach George Ragsdale being fired and defensive coordinator Dennis Winston being named interim head coach, the third head coach the team has had in a five-week period.

Players also walked out of a meeting the school administration had arranged Thursday in order to discuss the situation. On Friday, things finally boiled over completely. Grambling State had to cancel their game against conference opponent Jackson State after the players failed to show up for the bus to Mississippi, according to Sean Isabella and Daniel Uthman of USA Today.

Per ESPN, Southwestern Athletic Conference commissioner Duer Sharp announced that the game would be declared a forfeit.

Jackson State will be refunding the tickets for the game, which was scheduled to be their homecoming game. Homecoming events will still take place, though.

George Dorhmann of Sports Illustrated detailed widespread conflict between the football players and the school that go beyond just petty differences. There are numerous grievances the players have against the school, all of which paint the administration in a very poor light.

From crumbling facilities that the university refuses to fix despite the materials being donated, to forcing the team to take a lengthy bus trip to Indianapolis last week instead of flying, it appears that the school is forcing the athletes to work with conditions almost unheard of in Division I football.

Friday, the players finally had enough and made their strongest stand yet, a move that is impossible for the school to ignore. Where this saga goes now is up to the administration, as the players have made it clear that something has to change on the school's part or there will be no more Grambling State Tigers football games this year.