Grambling State football players are peeling back the curtain to reveal the horrendous condition of the school's football program.
Players described mold and mildew on equipment and in facilities, complained they had to pay for their own Gatorade and said poorly cleaned uniforms have contributed to several players suffering multiple cases of staph infection in a letter to the Grambling administration obtained by ESPN's Pedro Gomez.
Grambling players refused to travel Friday to their Saturday game against Jackson State. The game was cancelled, resulting in a forfeit for Grambling and a $20,000 fine for the school. Sean Isabella, who covers Grambling for thenewsstar.com, reported that school administrators are meeting with Southwestern Athletic Conference officials on Saturday. Fines in addition to the $20,000 are expected to be discussed as potential penalties for Grambling, per Isabella.
In the letter, players said the athletic complex "is in horrible condition, and has many hazards that may contribute to our overall health. First, the complex is filled with mildew and mold. Mildew and mold can be seen on the ceiling, walls and floor, and are contributing to water leaks because of faltering walls and ceilings."
Players said these factors, including a weight-room floor that is in awful condition, are keeping them from reaching their goals. It's hard to see anyone, including the administration the players are battling, making a legitimate case that the players are somehow off-base in that assertion.
Grambling defensive back Naquan Smith on Saturday tweeted a series of photos believed to be of the school's facilities and equipment:
Grambling president Frank Pogue apologized to Jackson State, but not to Grambling's players, in a statement Saturday.
"We have had our financial challenges this year, and unfortunately too many of our players don't understand the degree of our fiscal challenges," Pogue said. "We are sorry."
The Grambling players walked out of a meeting with Pogue on Tuesday and did not show up for practice on Wednesday.
It doesn't appear the two sides will be getting together to talk over the weekend. Smith tweeted this on Friday: