Grambling, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Grambling State's football players, whose university forfeited a conference game this past Saturday, have reportedly agreed to end a six-day walkout and finish the season, beginning with a practice Monday afternoon.
The Tigers players walked out of a meeting with administration following last Tuesday's practice and haven't practiced or played since then, listing greviences over the state of the winless football program. They forfeited a scheduled Southwestern Athletic Conference game at Jackson State this past Saturday.
The Shreveport Times reported Monday morning that senior defensive back Naquan Smith said in a statement from the team that its members are ready to practice again. Their recent complaints include the firing of head coach Doug Williams in September, having to travel on what they considered to be excessively long bus rides to some road games and having to train in what they consider to be unhealthy, dangerous facilities.
Defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston was named the team's interim head coach last week, following the firing of George Ragsdale, who replaced Williams.
"As part of the athletic program at Grambling State University, the football team took a stance on what we thought was right," the players' statement said. "We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist and if no one says anything, nothing will come of our institution. We hope Coach Eddie Robinson and his legendary players can appreciate that we stood up for what we thought was right.
"After coming into contact with different sources, we decided to reach out to the one person we trusted, Coach Doug Williams, with our concerns. His main statement to us was, 'Go out there and play football.' He also put us in contact with Jim Bernhard out of Baton Rouge. A meeting was held with Mr. Bernhard as well as Douglas Porter, Ezil Bibbs, Roy Jackson, Henry Dyer and Howard Davis. The meeting confirmed him (Bernhard) as being committed with our best intentions at heart and that he would ensure we had updated facilities, but we had to agree to being back practicing Monday, October 21 and finish the remainder of our season.
"Although we are going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we've gotten here. We would like to say thank you to Coach Williams, the Legends and Mr. Jim Bernhard. Grambling has given us the opportunity to be a part of its legacy and we are only looking to improve conditions for the university and future student-athletes."
Grambling has an 0-8 record. It finished 1-10 last year after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship under Williams in 2011.
The Tigers are scheduled to host Texas Southern in a SWAC game on Saturday.