SWAC misses its chance to send a message

Once again, the Southwestern Athletic Conference chose to handle things like a group of fraternity buddies passing out secret decisions instead of sending a message to its 10 members and the rest of the nation that it means business.

The conference announced on Wednesday that it has reached a decision regarding the Jackson State-Grambling fiasco from a month ago. For one, Grambling will be forced to forfeit the game. OK, thanks for that heads-up. Secondly, it will force Grambling to play at Jackson State for the next three years to offset the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost when Grambling elected not to attend Jackson’s 2013 homecoming game on Oct. 19. Let’s hope Jackson doesn’t go bankrupt while it waits for this odd method of punishment. Third, the conference announced it “plans to assist Jackson State University with an undisclosed amount as a result of its lost home contest.” Of course, we’re not going to tell you how much it is because we know you’ll laugh and ridicule us when you discover how little it is.

What a joke. So Grambling players elect to boycott the Jackson State game as a way of bringing attention to their deplorable conditions and the SWAC’s method of punishment is basically no punishment at all. If Grambling had honored its game with Jackson State, it would have made two trips to Jackson in 2013-16. Now, it will make three. That’s punishment?

“As the immediate governing body of the ten SWAC member institutions, and with approval from SWAC’s Executive Council, the missed game between Jackson State and Grambling State will be deemed a forfeit and GSU will be fined.” said SWAC commissioner Duer Sharp. “As far as the fine for Grambling State and subsequent payment to Jackson State, we believe that it is the right thing to do from a conference standpoint.

“Our goal at this point is to address those concerns head-on, finish up our regular season and move on towards our football championship in Houston on Dec. 7.”

And they wonder why no one takes the conference seriously or why teams like Alabama State are desperately trying to find a way to get out of the conference.


About tgayle

Tim Gayle is a sports reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper and montgomeryadvertiser.com.
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