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Grambling players' revolt ends, conflict does not - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Grambling players' revolt ends, conflict does not

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GRAMBLING, La. -

The once-proud football program at Grambling State has been in turmoil since head coach Doug Williams was abruptly fired last month.  The 1-10 record of a year ago has morphed in to 0-7 this season and now a week of turmoil never before seen.  Players walked out of a Tuesday meeting with administrators then failed to show up for practice Wednesday.  Tatum Everett went to Grambling for what became a day unlike any other.

Locked out and guarded was the scene Thursday afternoon at the same time Grambling State was supposed to be preparing for their Saturday match-up at Jackson State.  You could also say that's the state of the Tigers football program.  The university confirmed Thursday that they relieved interim head coach George Ragsdale of his duties and named defensive coordinator Dennis "Dirt" Winston as their third head coach this season.

"The situation with Coach Rags, as a team, was a personal issue. It felt like it got out of hand. Why would you play for somebody who's disrespected you?" senior defensive back Naquan Smith said.

"Ragsdale has been reassigned to go in another direction, at this time and he'll be helping us in other ways," Grambling State University spokesman Will Sutton confirmed.

Instead of showing up to 5 p.m. practice, some of the players held a student rally to voice their concerns about the university's administration.  Although the players said they would only come back with Ragsdale gone, their main concern is Grambling State's president Dr. Frank Pogue.

"We feel like his lack of leadership is what's going on today.  I think as a team, we want him to step down and resign," Smith elaborated.  "None of this would have happened if the leadership and the authority and the administration was doing what's right."

"The president addresses the students everyday, every day.  You show me another president who goes to practices, who goes to band practices, who eats in the cafeteria," Sutton expressed.  "It's very important to know that our president wanted to meet with the football team September 11th, not Tuesday.  Our president was advised not to do that by our coach and he went with their advise and counsel."

"When we tried to talk about why Coach Williams was fired, they couldn't really say anything. He was a father to us.  It's the second game of the season and you say he's been fired.  After the ULM game, the football team had the mindset that we were rolling and now the whole program is like wow," Smith said.

Despite a tumultuous week, Grambling State still plans on playing Jackson State Saturday.

"No concerns, we are going to play the players that want to play," Sutton added.

It is not sounding like the problems between players and school are anywhere near over as the university has threatened to take away scholarships and the players are already in discussions on hiring an attorney.

 

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