I’m not sure there’s a proper response from the Southwestern Athletic Conference office concerning the mess at Grambling State, but give conference officials credit. When your problems start affecting other teams, it’s time to step in.
Grambling is out of control. Doug Williams was fired early in the season and that was just the tip of the iceberg, but from an outsider looking in, Williams has long since proven he wasn’t the answering to restoring the program. It has fallen on hard times and Williams’ coaching ability, or lack of, was a primary factor in the program’s decline in the last few years.
So he’s replaced with George Ragsdale. How was that working out? Well, how did you think it was going to work out? Grambling just needed to limp through the season and try to piece it back together with a new coach in 2014.
Apparently, that wasn’t the answer some — especially the players on the team — were looking for. Rasgdale apparently alienated just about everyone connected with the program and things had gotten so bad a meeting was set up between players and administrators on Tuesday.
The players didn’t get the answers they were looking for and walked out, boycotting a Wednesday practice session in the process. Ragsdale was fired and defensive coordinator Dennis Winston was put in charge.
Players, apparently upset their views weren’t taken seriously, decided not to board the bus on Friday for this weekend’s game at Jackson State. That’s when the problems spilled over. See, it’s bad enough when you can’t control your own athletic program but when your troubles force the cancelation of Jackson State’s homecoming game, you’ve cost the Tigers a lot of money.
That’s when the conference stepped in, ruling Saturday’s game a forfeit victory for Jackson State and reportedly fining Grambling $20,000. Hopefully, they’ll donate that money to Jackson State to offset the loss of revenue. If that’s the case, they should have fined Grambling $100,000.
“It’s unfortunate that the game will not be played but in accordance with the Southwestern Athletic Conference bylaws, the game will be ruled a forfeit charging Grambling State the loss and awarding Jackson State with a win,” said SWAC commissioner Duer Sharp. “For Grambling State’s failure to compete in a conference contest and in addition to forfeiting the game, they (Grambling State) are subject to a monetary penalty.”
According to the current record book, it is the first time a member school within the conference has forfeited a game during the regular season.
Next up for Grambling are home games with Texas Southern and Mississippi Valley State. At least this time, if they decide not to play, it’ll be their own fans and revenue base they’ll be messing with.