Local University Coach Weighs In On Grambling State - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Local University Coach Weighs In On Grambling State

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The Grambling State University Tigers football team ended a nearly week-long boycott on Monday.

"To get what we want, we feel we did what was right. We had to take a stand. We had to make our voices heard," said Naquan Smith, of the Grambling State football team.

The Tigers walked out of a meeting with school officials on Tuesday, skipped practice on Wednesday and Thursday then didn't show for the game Saturday against Jackson State. The reason? Student athletes say they are upset over the firing of coach Doug Williams, poor condition of their athletic facilities and travel arrangements.

"We heard the students," said Dr. Frank Pogue. "We listened to the students and we wanted to respond to their needs as an indication of support."

Dr. Pogue, the former president at Edinboro University, said he more than anyone, is aware of the universities financial situations. A spokesperson for Grambling State said the school's seen a 57% cut in state funding over the years.

Coach Marty Schaetzle of Mercyhurst University's football team said he's never had to deal with a situation like this. He said when he heard the boycott, he felt for the student athletes and universities involved. He added there are plenty of other universities who are facing financial troubles of their own.

"It sound like there's tough times down there, and one of the things you do as an athlete and as a coach is when you face tough times, you get a little big tougher and find a way to get things done," said Coach Schaetzle.

While Coach Schaetzle admits he's still not sure of the details, but said it's just a sad situation that he hopes Grambling state, and other schools, can learn from.

"The players have to find a way to make it a positive. THe coaches have to find a way to make things better and the administration has to find a way to make things, to improve things for the program."

The players did agree to end their boycott after meeting with their former head coach and some alumni.

That forfeit, though, caused the Tigers to drop to 0-8 on the season.
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