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GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - GSU President sends apology to Jackson State University, asking for prayers for a quick resolution.
Grambling President Frank G. Pogue made a call expressing his "deep regret that GSU was unable to field a football team" for Saturday's game against Jackson State University.
Grambling reports Pogue called JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers late Friday afternoon, informing her that the only 22 football players showed up to catch the team bus at 3:30 p.m.
"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. 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."
"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."