In a weekend full of upsets and big games, perhaps no score stands out more from Saturday's college football slate than Grambling State's 1-0 loss. Grambling State officially forfeited, a majority of its players refusing to travel to Jackson State.

Grambling's players are upset with the school's travel policies, outdated and unsafe practice facilities, a tumultuous coaching situation, and what they say is a lack of support from the school's administration. (See the complete list of complaints the Grambling players sent to school administrators: PDF)

The players have reasons to support each argument. Travel policies? The team had to take a bus 750 miles to a neutral-site game in Indianapolis. Their opponent, Alcorn State, took a plane to the game.

"It does something to your body, being on the bus that long," one player told Sports Illustrated.

The players were on the bus for 15 hours.

Unsafe practice facilities? According to SI, a worn out and uneven floor in the weight room is just one problem. Then "there is rust around some windows and insulation droops down from where ceiling panels are absent."

Tumultuous coaching situation? The 0-8 Tigers are on their third head coach this season. Players were unhappy when Doug Williams, who led Grambling State to a SWAC championship as recently as 2011 was fired in September.

But, the issues at Grambling State run deeper. From SI:Grambling is not, say, LSU, a football factory that generates millions of dollars in profit while the athletes go unpaid. In recent years, Grambling's football program has run a deficit of between $1.2 and $1.8 million. That doesn't mean Grambling couldn't or shouldn't do more for its athletes, just that the image of school officials counting their millions while players bus 754 miles to a game is inaccurate.

A Timeline of the Debacle at Grambling State:

August 31 - Grambling State opens season with 23-9 loss to Alabama A&M

September 11 - Head coach Doug Williams fired

October 10 - Team travels 750 miles to Indianapolis by bus for neutral-site game against Alcorn State

October 12 - Alcorn State defeats Grambling State 48-0

October 15 - Players walk out of meeting with school president and athletic director

October 16 - Players begin boycotting practice

October 17 - Interim head coach George Ragsdale fired, replaced by defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston

October 19 - Grambling State forfeits game against Jackson State

So what's next for the struggling program? According to the AP:

The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced that it is working with Grambling officials to "ensure that the appropriate actions are made" to resolve the continuing standoff between the school's football players and administration.

The SWAC said Sunday night in a release that Grambling had not been fined for forfeiting its scheduled game Saturday at Jackson State.

Subsequent reports had stated Grambling would be fined $20,000 for forfeiting the Jackson State game. As JSU's homecoming, the game was expected to draw a large crowd.

The football team will move forward with Winston now at the helm of the program. Grambling athletic director Aaron James says Winston has the ability to "tone things down and get the program up and running smoothly."

Grambling has scheduled a football practice scheduled today but it is still unclear if anyone will show up.

UPDATE: It appears as if the boycott of practice is over.

Michael Gaio is eMedia Editor of Athletic Business.
avatar
Very easy to blame the Governor, here, if one were so inclined. Smaller schools depend on passed-down federal funding from the state to operate.
avatar
I like how you threw in the line of atheles not getting paid, they may not get cash in their pocket but the education is worth plenty. Not to mention the top notch facilites that I am sure playing at LSU provides.
avatar
Yes, College Athletes getting paid?
The day colllege athletes get paid is the day the
stadiums become empty and Saturday night football
is no longer on TV because of low ratings. College athletes getting paid will really turn off alot of people who are now going to the games and watching it on TV becasue they can relate to the players, Once they get paid the normal person cannot relate to them any longer, Why, because are they not only getting an opportunity which many americans can only wish for of an education but now they are getting paid as well.
If you are an athlete and want to get paid, play for a
league that pays you. If you want to play College sports then play College sports and take advantage of the eductaional opportunity and get an education that can be worth millions in your future. Is a $200,000 education opportunity not getting paid to play a game????
Look at Grambliing struggling to have a team, the sunshine is all these players have an opportunity to get an education no matter what the coaching situation is or the facilities. People really need get their priority straight,