The Sports Brothers
GSU's players should be praised
The Sports Brothers | 10/24/2013, 9 a.m.
When I read this week that the Grambling State University’s football program was forfeiting a game against Jackson State University, I couldn't help but look up the actual definition of the word and see that the definition, in this sense didn't match the action.
The definition of forfeit reads like this: A fine or penalty for wrongdoing or for a breach of the rules in a club or game or a
lost or surrendered as a penalty for wrongdoing or neglect.
What exactly did the football team do wrong?
The men on GSU's football team have had a rough couple of years. The program was once on top of the Black college football world under legendary coach Eddie Robinson and recently departed former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams and now it has hit rock bottom.
Doug Williams, in his second stint as football coach at his alma mater was fired last month. His replacement, George Ragsdale was hired and “reassigned” shortly after. The team which is 1-17 going back to the 2012 season, complained and had enough of what they called “poor treatment” by the university and the administration. Long bus trips to road games in Kansas City and Indianapolis (1,200 miles and 1,500 respectively), no money for meals, and run-down weight room facilities were just some of the complaints.
They felt their voices weren't being heard and they decided to act. First, they boycotted practice on Oct. 14th. Then they walked out of a meeting with the university president, athletic director and interim coach on Oct. 17th after things got negative. Then they dropped the hammer. The team decided it would not travel (by bus of course) to Jackson State this past weekend to play the Tigers for their homecoming.
So Jackson State gets the “W”, and Grambling gets the “F” for forfeit. In my opinion, these young men had forfeited enough. While budget cuts have cost between $6-$8 million dollars in state funds since 2009, the players are still asked to do more with less.
Why didn't the school adjust travel to the budget? GSU should have not scheduled games at such long distances. The weight room situation could have been handled a long time ago with monies the school got, but they decided to use them elsewhere. And putting a 320 pound offensive lineman on a bus for hours, with one meal is just straight up cruel.
Money will continue to be the straw that breaks the backs of HBCU programs nationwide. Until alumni support is built up and conditions at schools like Grambling drastically improve, everyone loses. Except the players on the 2013 Grambling State University football team. For taking a stand and bringing attention to a bad situation, they are winners.
Jeff Fox & Ed Freeman, 560 WQAM; http://www.thesportsbros.com; follow us at @twitter.com/thesportsbros; Facebook us at TheSports Brothers.