Last week, members of the football team at Grambling State University boycotted practice and refused to travel for Saturday’s game at Jackson State University in Mississippi. The game was cancelled. The players issued a series of complaints that included long bus rides to games in states far from Louisiana, missing or damaged floor and ceiling tiles and mold in practice facilities, and improper cleaning of team uniforms. The interim coach of the football team was relieved of his duties.
The players agreed to return to practice this week. University president Frank Pogue agreed to mount an institutional review for the entire university, not just its athletics programs. Dr. Pogue issued a statement that read, “I believe good things can come from creative tension. You can use creative tension to bring attention to the needs of society. In this case we are using it to bring attention to something larger than athletics – larger than football. What we are addressing today is symptomatic of something larger that exists on our campus, our financial plight. We have serious needs across the university community. I intend to work to develop and conduct a comprehensive review of Grambling’s academics, facilities, student services, athletics, and financial needs to make our university stronger.”
Now a spokesperson for Jackson State University has announced that it will take legal action against Grambling for not playing the football game. It was homecoming weekend at Jackson State and the university claims that the institution and the city of Jackson lost millions of dollars as a result. “It would be irresponsible for Jackson State University to fail to pursue some redress,” said Eric Stringfellow, executive director of university communications at Jackson State.