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Grambling State player boycott cancels game

JACKSON, Miss. — Grambling State's proud program descended into further chaos as the school canceled today's scheduled game against Jackson State after disgruntled players refused to travel to Jackson. Jackson State officials announced the cancellation Friday night.

Grambling spokesman Will Sutton said late Friday that the Southwestern Athletic Conference has labeled the game as a "no contest" and that university officials would have no comment. He said players will not be available for interviews.

SWAC commissioner Duer Sharp said according to league rules, Grambling will forfeit and the school will be fined.

Grambling officials met throughout a chaotic Friday, trying to rectify the sour situation between players and administration.

Friday's apparent boycott was the latest in three days of upheaval for Grambling's program — which rose to prominence under former coach Eddie Robinson and has won a record 14 mythical national championships for programs at historically black schools.

Several media outlets reported that players did not practice Wednesday and Thursday because of issues with the program and school leadership.

Grambling (0-7) has lost 18 in a row including the forfeit and changed coaches twice in about two months. Former Bucs quarterback Doug Williams was fired two games into the season and replaced by George Ragsdale, a onetime teammate of Williams' on the Bucs who was reassigned Thursday and replaced by Dennis "Dirt" Winston.

The game is Jackson State's homecoming and could hurt the school financially. The matchup usually draws very well — an announced crowd of more than 21,000 attended in 2011 in Jackson.

Jackson State's athletic budget is about $6 million, and the school relies heavily on football revenue. Jackson State spokeswoman Jean Cook said the school would still have homecoming festivities, including the parade, a scrimmage and extended band performance.

Grambling's athletic program has struggled amid budget cuts and scholarship reductions. The men's basketball team was 0-28 last season.

Eastern Michigan football player slain

DETROIT — A 20-year-old Eastern Michigan player was found shot to death in an off-campus apartment in what authorities said was a homicide that could have been a robbery. Police were investigating the slaying of junior Demarius Reed, who was shot multiple times and personal items were taken, police said.

The Eagles' home game against Ohio University was still scheduled for today.

Reed, a 5-foot-10, 161-pound receiver, played six games this season, catching 15 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.

Miami injuries: Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett is expected to miss up to six weeks with a partly torn left MCL. He was hurt Thursday during the No. 10 Hurricanes' 27-23 win at North Carolina. Also, starting running back Duke Johnson showed no ill effects after a blow to the head forced him out of the game early.

Alabama: The NCAA cleared safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to return for today's game against Arkansas. Clinton-Dix served a two-game suspension for accepting a short-term loan.

USC: Receiver Marqise Lee, who missed last week's game against Arizona, will play tonight at Notre Dame, the Orange County Register reported.

Basketball

Calipari talk: Kentucky held its midnight madness event at Rupp Arena and coach John Calipari, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll, fired up the fans. "We don't just play college basketball, we are college basketball," he told the crowd. "As you know, we are everyone's Super Bowl."

Santa Clara: Coach Kerry Keating got a multiyear extension through the 2014-15 season.

UNLV: Savon Goodman, 19, quit the team ahead of a preliminary hearing on theft charges.

Grambling State player boycott cancels game 10/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:08pm]
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