Putting The Grambling Football Situation In Perspective

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For many of the people out there who don’t know the legacy of Grambling State University, let me drop a little knowledge on you. First of all, Grambling was THE HBCU to attend if you wanted to be a part of a winning tradition.

From Eddie Robinson to Doug Williams, the Grambling legacy is real. Regardless of where you went to school, white or black, you knew about Grambling for one of two reasons: the football team or the band.

Things have changed in Louisiana now, and Grambling appears to just be an afterthought. Since Rod Broadway packed his things and moved to North Carolina A&T, Grambling has had to endure some real obstacles both financially and culturally.

The Grambling mystique is no more as the financial pitfalls have crippled the university in many ways. Football is usually the money pot for a school's athletic base, but low income means low attendance, and when you factor in that the team is not winning games anymore, it gives alumni and locals even more reason to spend their money elsewhere.

Issues about education and finances have come under scrutiny at lots of places. Every HBCU is feeling the pinch, which is why you have seen many of them taking these mercy killings versus elite Division I competition. Why not take the payout for one of these games? For some of these schools it is more money than they have in their budgets for the season altogether.

Grambling is not any different than any other HBCU. It used to be because of the number of generous donors and NFL prospects that used to roam the Tigers' sidelines. Today they are a shadow of that, and the NFL prospects do not check in like they used to.

The government in Louisiana has made some decisions that put people in a serious pinch. When finances get cut, the ramifications are usually going to have a domino effect. One piece falls, and the rest of the pieces will start to tumble as more and more people lose positions or are put between a rock and a hard place.

Grambling facilities are not up to standard based on the pictures that I have seen. (I can only say pictures, because I have not been on their campus in four years, and when I was there, they were sub-par then.) Grambling has some tough decisions ahead, and one of them will be the legacy of the school. I say that because if they cannot put a product on the field that is worthy of expectation, how realistic is it that the program can continue?

People are not going to pay for a product that is a budget product, especially if it is not something that they covet. It is not unrealistic to debate the necessity of football in the area. In fact, I would argue that football is the saving grace for the entire area around the university. So if it is not going to be funded, then maybe it’s time to consider moving in another direction and either moving down to Division II or giving up football altogether.

HBCUs have to realize that sometimes bigger is not better. You want national recognition, but that comes with a price. If you cannot afford to pay that price or you have to sell your soul to make payments, then are you doing the kids a disservice or are you helping them become stronger by handling adversity? This question is one that has and needs to be answered.

As a fan of HBCU football, I hope Grambling gets this worked out, because it is becoming a national entity and the ramifications will open up criticism to places that are trying to get it right. The process is not perfect. In fact, it is more real-world than anything that most of us will witness in our lifetimes.

Eddie Robinson has to be looking down and wondering what went wrong at the football utopia that he helped construct. I suspect in a few years more and more universities are going to be facing the same rough patches that Grambling is facing. However, they deal with it and it will be a tribute to their legacies. Hopefully they are watching, taking notes and learning something from this ordeal. If not, then all of this was for nothing.

Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!

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