Grambling State’s football players announced today that they’ll return to the playing field this week after drawing national attention for their walkout over complaints ranging from moldy equipment to 14-hour bus trips to away games.
In a statement, senior Naquan Smith stressed that he and his teammates “did not quit on our university,” but felt they had no choice but to boycott practice last week and refuse to board a bus to an away game that resulted in a forfeit. “Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we’ve gotten here,” Smith said.
The players say that they have been assured by alumni and boosters that they’ll soon have “updated facilities.”
For those unfamiliar with the players’ plight, Sports Illustrated has a long, detailed account of the sad circumstances the team is faced with—including crumbling facilities, a limited coaching staff, and dirty uniforms that raised fears of staph infections—that you can check out here.
Grambling, which moved to 0-8 on the year after forfeiting Saturday’s game at Jackson State, is on its third head coach this year, after firing Doug Williams—the most famous player in school history and the only black quarterback to win a Super Bowl—as well as the man chosen to replace him. According to Deadspin, the school’s shrinking budget can be tied to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2009 refusal of federal stimulus funds.
Grambling faces Texas Southern at home this weekend.