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Message regarding cancelled Homecoming game

The Jackson State University community experienced an unprecedented event during our Homecoming Week.

The cancellation of the football game was disappointing for faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters. Yet we did not allow it to diminish our tradition of coming together and celebrating the university’s history and legacy.

Thank you for your assistance and patience for making this Homecoming like no other.

The Charlie Wilson concert was sold out, with some revelers dancing in the aisles.  The Greek Show was well attended. Our Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway was packed with alumni and students with their families. This was a testament to the strong spirit of those who refused to let another institution’s challenges dampen JSU’s Homecoming.

Still, the JSU family was damaged. Our Homecoming game draws tens of thousands of fans. The university intends to use litigation to be made whole for our direct and indirect financial losses.

We have a fiduciary responsibility to Mississippi taxpayers and the JSU community to mitigate our ongoing and substantial losses.  Jackson State plans to pursue litigation against Grambling State and others.

Grambling’s issues are well documented and long standing. Those issues, however, are not JSU’s issues nor are these JSU’s responsibility.

Grambling repeatedly assured us its team would travel to Jackson. Late Friday afternoon they informed us their student athletes would not travel to Jackson for our scheduled game. We have dealt in good faith with Grambling and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The actions of both have hurt JSU.

The SWAC commissioner did not return calls from our director of athletics the entire week. The Clarion-Ledger reported the SWAC commissioner would be meeting with folks at Grambling and JSU.  We haven’t seen him, nor has he called.

Jackson State University’s and the city of Jackson’s losses could be in the millions. It would be irresponsible for JSU to fail to pursue some redress.

Again, Jackson State University appreciates the overwhelming support from our alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends.

Eric Stringfellow
Executive Director, University Communications

24 Comments

  1. redram says:

    briefly, I’ll try to brief. Words don’t respectfully express the feeling I have for institutions that I cherish. but words I must write. Jackson State is destined to become the premier Higher Educational Institutional in the Southeastern United Staes. Let’s not hold the young men accountable for what actually was a bold, and courageous step taken by them. When is the last time young men of color stood up, rose, and spoke up about injust services and accomodations….Civil Rights come to mind to anyone. Now, that I’ve paid homage to Grambing, my focus and my attention, and my love and passion is for my place of graduation and enlightenment…. Jackson State University… We will recover, regroup, and rebound from the temporary losses that institution caused from from not fulfilling obligations. The main point here is…MOVING FORWARD….. With litigation, some, if not most, or perhaps, additional monies will be recieved. Emotionally, have to do we accept or respond. Why not simply flood the SWAC and NCAA with corrospondence that propels them to either cancel Grambling’s homecoming or have them return to Jackson to play us at home in 2014. Perhaps a deal that allows us to play an additional game, try yhis on for size…. play a really big time program to help us offset the losses incurred. With a little more thought, patience, and insight that comes with time, surly BLUE TOOTH TIGER NATION will come to realize that God does not presents himselg to us with mistakes…nlt opportunities that could really, really, really makes us so much RICHER

  2. Wilson Ledet says:

    My wife and one daughter are graduates of GSU and we loveit dearly. However I agree that doug williams was the central force behind this action therefore he should be sued, he and his son should be barred from both the camus of GSU and the town of Grambling.What did he teach those boys? It’s okay to exmplify IGNORANCE when you can’t your way. doug is arrogant, stupid, and selfish. Coach Rob’s son played, but he had the wisdom to do what was best for the university and not try to make his son something that he wasn’t.S jsu. Please go after the culprit and those players that followed his directives should have their scholarships rescinded. Never in our history have we lost 18straight games and never have we had an idiot pretending he’s all that and a bag of chips.

  3. Kenneth Archer says:

    JSU Administration is well within their right and should pursue litigation to make the University whole. Grambling has some issues they need to resolve, but JSU should not have been used by them to make their statement. For those who are against the litigation, you have a right to your opinion, but right is right and wrong is wrong. What Grambling did to JSU was wrong. Why not boycott their own Homecoming? or better yet, why not boycott the Bayou Classic? I’m sure the TV network would sue Grambling for a whole lot more than what Jackson State is due for their loss.

  4. Sylvester Taylor, atl alum says:

    Thumbs up and kudos to our Administration!! Whatever support you need from us, the alumni, please don’t hesitate to ask! We will never forsake “Our” University for personal gain.

    We support your decision.

    Jacksonians, nothing but class!!

  5. George says:

    Stuff happens….get over it JSU. Solution is don’t schedule Grambling for homecoming again. Don’t like the SWAC…leave…to be honest you should really consider it. SWAC leadership is very complacent. They don even let their champion go on to the FCS playoffs (MEAC does). It’s almost like they have no interest in growth.

  6. SDH says:

    One thing I learned from the College of Business at Jackson State, is that business is business it is never personal. We all know Grambling have problems and issues like every other university have problems, but their problems are not Jackson State problem. My heart goes out to the student the staff and the institution as a whole, but when you enter into a contract you are liable and you should be held accountable.

  7. Chris says:

    Suing has become the easy way out of conducting affairs. This will not solve any of the current problems. People may believe in the short term it will help emotionally; however, it will not. Truly, people will hold grudges for a long time to come.

    The original posting spoke of plane tickets and hotel stays. Had an unfortunate event taken place such as weather emergency or other unforeseen occurrence taken place where reimbursement would not be possible, understanding would need to occur. For God-fearing individuals, forgiveness and compassion have surely been substituted for blatant hatred. Yes, what occurred by Grambling was inexcusable. Lawsuits will not solve that problem. Possible solution? Do not play them again.

    Cursory thought: if one attended the events which still transpired including the game and festivities, then no refunds should be given. If someone purchased a ticket only to discover that the opposing team did not show up, and then that person decided not to enter the game, then that person should be given a refund.

    Bottom line: if you pay to enter an event such as a movie and you do not like what happens, you can stay or leave, but the fact remains that you entered the main doors.

    Suing is the easy and most illogical way out of this situation. It will tie up resources including man-hours and the legal system. A proper education would alert one to those facts. A good church would as well. May I recommend Proverbs to help your anger and focus with this issue?

    This is a sad, disappointing situation. We can all learn from it and move on. The players at Grambling should especially feel the most vulnerable and guilty. No matter what penalty is exacted, the players will never be penalized financially, so what is the ultimate point of the suit? The major point and salient argument has already been raised.

  8. Kelly says:

    There should be a class action lawsuit brought against Grambling for those who brought plane tickets and paid for hotel stays to see our JSU Tigers team play homecoming. It was most fans only chance to watch our beloved Tigers play this year. Next year game should be played in Jackson and not in Grambling! Please follow through on this lawsuit.

  9. Avis says:

    Not only did the Commissioner not call, he didnt RETURN OUR CALLS ALL WEEK? So instead of trying to mediate the situation he ducked his head and ran?

    I heard him on the conference call saying he was driving back to B’ham and was going to stop in Jackson. When the beat writer asked what time he woudl be in Jackson, he himmed and hawed and didnt give her a straight answer, Now we know why.

  10. Tajuania Pollard says:

    I agree with JSU using our legal right to sue Grambling for breach of contract. I also understand that we will be sueing an already financially strapped HBCU. However we, our JSU,has been financially hurt by this as well. Had the shoe been on the other foot, would Grambling hesitate to sue us? Financially strapped or not? There are repercussions for every action whether you are standing up for what you believe in or not. Grambling had a contractual obligation to show up and they did not. Period. Yes the JSU family is sorry for what is going on at that school however, that is their problem and not ours. Those athletes are also under contract to represent that school as a team and they breached that contract as well. Whatever happens to their school those students can blame themselves.

  11. Xavier says:

    The same principle applies when a performer doesn’t show up for a show. Litigation can be pursued. I watched the special on ESPN yesterday and their facilities are not in horrid shape as proclaimed. We have the right to recoup any monetary value because it wasn’t our problem. They wanted Muscle Milk and rubber mats. Really? Would this happen if Grambling was .500 or better……..NO!

  12. denrol says:

    Having flown in all the way from Stockholm, Sweden to witness such a catastrophe was heart wrenching not only because this was my first homecoming in five years but also because it sunk the the mood of the usually vibrant city during homecoming. I wish j state all the best in the litigation process and hope it never happens again.

  13. Dwayne says:

    Maybe time has come for Jackson State University to look at alternative conference options. This entire fiasco was caused by Grambling’s administration and lack of leadership from SWAC. Money was there for the GSU players to fly to Indianapolis and Kansas City, but their administration decided to allocate the funds to other areas, possibly bonuses and fringe for admin staff. The Grambling administration killed their own golden goose. Pure and simple, they made a bad move and will now have to reap the whirlwind. They will start by making JSU whole.

    I say take the best of the SWAC and the best of the MEAC and form a new 1-A conference. We will need new capable competitors to pack our new dome stadium anyway.

  14. Joann Buchanan says:

    Grambling president should have explain to the students the cost of not showing up to someone’ homecoming game, that it would hurt the university because the cost to fix the students problems is less than the cost we are going to sue them for, top management should have communicated all outcomes. Our budget was cut too! but we try to manage our resources to stay above the water. We love our JSU alumni groups because they support our needs and work with our admin to make sure they are following the NCAA rules. I pray that Grambling get back on top, it might take a while but they will. JSU is not trying to be mean but we have debts too that was not paid last week becasue of the lost, trying to make sure we do not go under either. Why didn’t they strike during one of their home game? Can tell you why, not much media attention becasue of their record, but with JSU, known to get attention, they used us for their personal gain, by no mean it was a fair reason by the students but not looking at the overall pictures of damage. We had one of the best homecoming ever thanks to our JSU family. Our football ticket refund was donated back to the university.

  15. Gabe Jones says:

    Why do you think the concepts of loan forbearance and forgiveness exist? Do you want there to be a Grambling game next year? Or the next? Then it’s in your best interest to help Grambling prosper. Numerous publications have identified that Grambling’s primary issue is lack of money. How could suing Grambling possibly help matters? If Grambling were to shut down tomorrow because it couldn’t pay its debtors, how would that possibly be a good thing for Jackson State? How would that lack of future revenue be a good thing for Mississippi taxpayers?

  16. Valorie says:

    Why kick a school when they are down? GSU couldn’t make the young men get on the bus. This generation of students will not settle for mediocrity. The SWAC commisssioner should have returned your calls. Remember when you are on top of the world it turns every 24 hours.

  17. Grambling is already strapped financially. They are already facing a $20,000 fine, this will be devastating on the university. However, I applaud those young men for their courage.

  18. Marianne Wright says:

    As a parent of a former student athlete (college footballing player) I have followed the Grambling student athlete’s concerns with sadness for their plight and prayers for wisdom and compassion to prevail in the resolution of an untenable situation. In that spirit, it would be heartening to hear that Jackson State University offered a positive statement of support for what is good and right for the student athlete, for standing up for decency in the treatment of human beings, and for priorities where addressing the suffering of others is the higher priority of a higher education institution. It would have shown compassionate leadership if Jackson State University had used this platform to raise funds for say a nutritional donation, something thoughtful and helpful. And/Or for awareness for the plight of student athletes everywhere. Instead, it came to my attention on tonight’s tv sports ticker, that JSU wants what I’ll call “financial justice” at Grambling’s further expense. I felt sad for a lost opportunity to show the nation that there’s a better way to handle a dramatic change of plans than vitriole and litigation.

    With hopes for the best from all of us.
    MW

  19. MJB says:

    As a JSU alum, I support this litigation. I still attended Homecoming 2013 amd had a great time. Its a bummer this occurred as me & my class celebrated our first decade as alumni, but I was glad to see JSU handle this extraordinary situation with dignity and grace. Thee I Love!

  20. J S says:

    This is great news!!!

  21. Minnie Smith says:

    So many people lost out on this one, the players more so than the fans, but the lost all ways seem to be the bottom line money. If, Grambling is hurting financially, how is suing them going to help them? Where does the lessons stop? Aren’t we all part of the same family, SWAC? Or is it only a term used to identify pleasure, and fun, and no solidarity?

  22. Troy says:

    Dr Brown,

    Not sure what you reference when you say Grambling’s well documented problems? It’s your right to sue, so be it.
    I just think you should also sue Doug Williams for putting those kids up to that.
    You know and everyone else knows he was involved. He needs to pay also !!
    I’d also ask you to always remember that the next time it could be you. So don’t sit too high in your saddle.
    IJS

  23. Darrell Van Sampson says:

    Hello, I am a Grambling alum and I clearly understand your position and support your actions. To me there was simply no excuse for Grambling’s football team to cause the problems they did to your school and city. All of the matters which were their reasons for their actions could have been taken care of at Grambling. I do understand the actions you must take and I would do the but do know this, we of Dear Ole Grambling love our school, our past, and our future and we pray that this shall never happen again.

  24. Dr. Brown says:

    JSU you guys have done well handling this situation. You have set yourself aside from the rest which is great and your decision to refund your fans will have a greater result in the long run. I am a supporter of JSU athletics has well has academics. I will continue to support our school. I would also like to see JSU look into other athletics options meaning maybe another conference for football GOOO Tigers……… Dr, Myers you are a jewel to our university as well as our city …..

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