Grambling university officials are meeting this weekend in an effort to reach a resolution with disgruntled football players and avoid any more forfeits.
University spokesman Will Sutton said Saturday that players were given the weekend off but that officials were in touch with some of them by phone. Sutton says a practice scheduled for Monday, though it is unclear if players will show up.
Grambling players refused to travel from their Louisiana campus for Saturday's game at Jackson State because of issues they have with leaders of the athletic department and the university.
Some of the players have demanded the resignation of university President Frank Pogue, but Sutton says "that's not going to happen."
Grambling forfeited the game against Jackson State, but the university plans to play next Saturday's scheduled game at Grambling against Texas Southern. It is the school's annual High School Day, which draws in many prospective students from around the region.
Sutton said officials meeting this weekend include Pogue, athletic director Aaron James and coach Dennis "Dirt" Winston, the team's third coach this season. Doug Williams was fired after just two games and Winston replaced interim coach George Ragsdale on Thursday.
Sutton confirmed one of the players' concerns was about travel. The team recently took buses to games in Kansas City and Indianapolis.
"When you have your budget slashed by 57 percent, you have to make choices," Sutton said, adding that the school would "love" to fly the team to distant road games, but that Grambling was contractually obligated to take its band, cheerleaders and dance team on those two trips. He said those obligations led to the difficult choice to put everyone on buses.
Sutton specified that the 57 percent cut in state funding, which has occurred over the past several years, has affected the entire campus, and that athletics was spared significant cuts until this academic year. The athletic department was asked to cut $335,000 from its overall department budget of $6.8 million. Sutton said football was cut by $75,000 to about $2 million.
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