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Grambling State University President To JSU: ‘We’re Sorry’

GSU president asks Jackson State University alumni, fans to support free speech of GSU football players and pray for resolution.
GRAMBLING (GSU Press Release) -- Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue expresses his deep regret that GSU was unable to field a football team for today’s scheduled 2 p.m. matchup for Jackson State University’s homecoming game.

The president called Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers late Friday afternoon to inform her that the GSU football team was unable to field a complete football team once only 22 football players showed up to catch the team bus at 3:30 p.m. That meant a GSU decision to forfeit the game, the first GSU forfeit in recent memory and one of only a few across the SWAC and all of historically black college and university football.

“It was with deep regret that I called Dr. Meyers and told her what had happened,” said Pogue. “We have had our financial challenges this year, and unfortunately too many of our players don’t understand the degree of our fiscal challenges. We are sorry.”

“We share many of the frustrations of our players and we continue to work to balance those concerns with the financial restraints that have been placed on our institution by the state,” added Pogue. “However, though recent events have resulted in an unfortunate homecoming gap in the always-exciting JSU homecoming weekend of activities, we ask that JSU alumni and fans respect the right of our football players to freely express their concerns as we do.”

“As an engaged student activist during my days at Alabama State, I fully endorse and support the idea of our students - all of our students -- to express their concerns, to recognize that this great nation has something called the First Amendment and that that amendment includes something called free speech,” added Pogue. “It would be disingenuous of me to say otherwise.”

The G-Men had 22  football players show up at the university’s football facility, packed and ready to go. University officials took roll, recording the names of the players who decided to fulfill their obligations to the university. Before the afternoon scheduled departure, the university advised the team about their financial and scholarship obligations.

“This is a sad day in Grambling State University history, sports and otherwise,” added Athletic Director Aaron James. “I’m frustrated and disgusted by all of this, but we must do the right thing for our football players, all of our athletics and for the entire university. We sincerely apologize to the JSU family, and we promise that we’ll get this back on track and continue our long, rich history of competition.”

 “This is not what I anticipated when I took the interim head football coach job, but it just shows how serious this situation is,” said Dennis “Dirt” Winston, who was named interim head football coach on Thursday afternoon. “I was looking forward to my first game leading this team, but it didn’t work out that way. We’re sorry that JSU’s team won’t have a viable competitor on the field today, and we pray that you join us to pray for our players and our university as we continue to work through this this weekend to find a resolution that allows us to pick up with practice on Monday and continue the season.”
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