Grambling State’s football team grabbed national headlines when the school had announced that only 22 players had showed up to board the bus traveling to their game in Mississippi, forcing them to forfeit. The students held a players only meeting the day before where they debated many important issues, ultimately deciding to boycott the following game. Players often had to travel on long bus rides before away games, disrupting their practice and sleeping habits, among their other complaints included broken equipment, lack of nutritional supplements, and poor quality training facilities.
Grambling had to pay $20,000 to the SWAC conference, and university officials subsequently sent out emails to players threatening revocation of scholarships as a possible repercussion of boycotting the game. Athletic director Aaron James defended the school’s actions “It wasn’t a threat,” “We were just showing them that these were the things that could happen. Everybody got to realize, when there’s an action there’s a reaction.
Following the national attention the boycott brought to the team’s struggles one company reached out to help. Muscle Milk, a supplement beverage company sent over 380 cases to the team, to keep them nourished throughout the season.
Jackson State is currently suing Grambling to earn back some of the money lost through refunded ticket sales, and while that legal process shall take its course, the situation draws attention towards different issues. Should players lose their scholarships for not fulfilling their end of the contract? What financial obligation does a University have to its athletics?