Tom Joyner

We only ask the question because Mr. Joyner has been the most vocal supporter in this country of HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and the opportunity they give to African American students. He has raised millions of dollars in scholarships through his radio program and foundation over the years.

Now comes a problem in an arena outside of the classroom, but still part of the college experience. One of the most legendary college football programs is threatened.

The legacy of Grambling State Football is unmatched by few. However the proud program once led by the winningest coach in the history of college football, Eddie Robinson (who coached from 1941 to 1997 and sent countless number of players to the NFL from the small university) is in danger of falling apart. This week’s game with Jackson State in Mississippi, which was Jackson’s homecoming, has been cancelled because the players refused to participate.


Former Grambling QB and Head Coach Doug Williams
The background here is the under-funding of the football program by the college and the state of Louisiana. The players are also protesting the firing of their head coach, Doug Williams, the former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Washington Redskins and Grambling alum. A back story here is squarely on the shoulders of Governor Bobby Jindal and his refusal to accept federal stimulus money in 2009, which most certainly would have benefited the athletic program as well as the school. There are also a number of other problems centering around the conditions in which the players are expected to perform like taking a 750 mile bus ride the day before a game, (while the other team flew) and having mold filled locker rooms.

The players have boycotted football… and have said to hell with a scholarship until conditions improve.

Maybe it’s not fair to just seek a solution to this problem from one individual like Tom Joyner when many others have profited off of the Grambling State University football program, like the NFL. Perhaps the NFL should step in because of the number of Hall of Famers and All-Pros that attended Grambling and helped make the league what it is today. Maybe the former players themselves can help out financially. Perhaps even NBC Sports might want to step in because it would be in their best interest. Many across the country tune in to watch The Bayou Classic football game on NBC between Grambling and Southern University from The Superdome in New Orleans each November. One thing for sure, this would never happen at a major college program like Alabama or LSU.

Perhaps Tom Joyner can get the ball rolling. It looks like no one else will.


Originally reported in Urban Radio Nation