Grambling State Players Refuse to Travel, Game Canceled Against Jackson State
Grambling State football players refused to travel to their game against Jackson State and the game is now cancelled. The players held a team meeting and decided not to travel because of "travel policies, poor facility conditions and a tumultuous coaching situation."
The school pushed back departure time to 4:30PM, but the buses ended up leaving at 5PM without anyone inside. Southwestern Athletic Conference commissioner Duer Sharp said if no decision was made the result would be forfeited and Grambling State would be fined. However, Grambling spokesman Will Sutton said "no forfeit." Sharp said he needed all the facts for his decision:
On Thursday, the school relieved George Ragsdale of his duties as interim coach and replaced him with defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston.
The Shreveport Times reported that one of the conditions for the players to end their boycott was that Ragsdale, who started the season as running backs coach, be relieved of his coaching duties.
Athletic director Aaron James said Winston has the ability to "tone things down and get the program up and running smoothly."
Williams sent a text message Friday evening to USA Today, saying: "I'm proud of them boys. They took a stance."
One problem is traveling to games by bus instead of plane. Grambling traveled 750 miles to Indianapolis for a game. They left at 6PM on Thursday and arrived at 9AM on Friday. They lost 48-0 to Alcorn State, which flew to the game from Mississippi.
"It does something to your body, being on the bus that long," Smith told SI. "We were kinda upset [the] other team got a chance to fly there. It wasn't fair."