UPDATE: Grambling President sends apologies to Jackson State Uni - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

UPDATE: Grambling President sends apologies to Jackson State University

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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 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 weekend to find a resolution that allows us to pick up with practice on Monday and continue the season."

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GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley has released a statement regarding the controversy at Grambling.

Together with the Board of Supervisors Chair Wayne Parker, Woodley stated the following:

"The University of Louisiana System has been closely monitoring the recent events surrounding Grambling State University's legendary football program.  The student athletes are our primary concern, and while we respect their right to protest we are concerned about the unintended consequences resulting from this action.  We are working closely with President Pogue, the NCAA, and other advisors to proceed in a compassionate manner that minimizes potentially harmful ramifications for our students and demonstrates pride and dignity for Grambling."

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GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) -Frank Pogue is calling it a financial emergency. Since he has been the president of Grambling State University he says the schools budget has been reduced by almost 60 percent. The football program is getting a lot of the attention but Pogue says there are financial issues in almost every department.

A lot of the Grambling State University football players are mad and frustrated with the decisions school officials have made. Some alumni organizations have heard the complaints and they are on these players side. They have threatened to quit making donations. The university president says that would hurt GSU that is already strapped for cash.

"We have to support Grambling financially to make it possible for us to keep moving in that direction," said President Frank Pogue.

Some of these football players have boycotted practices because on game day they travel more than ten hours on a bus while school administrators fly.

"I have taken notice of our financial situation personally and that's why I footed the bill for myself to go to Indiana and Kansas City. I paid for my own travel," said Athletic Director Aaron James.

Others say their weight room has been neglected and money isn't being allocated on the changes. School officials say those plans are in the works. They admit there are financial problems but they don't blame themselves. What would it take to turn the financial situation around?

"Let's have a conversation with Governor Jindal. Let's have a conversation with the legislature. That's what it will take," said Pogue.

Although there are a lot of questions, Pogue says he has a vision for the future.

"Return to those glory days of Grambling's visibility as an athletic giant," said Pogue.

Despite some alumni groups threatening to no longer support the school, Pogue says he recently received a check for ten-thousand dollars from others.

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