Grambling players end their boycott
Players say they didn’t quit on their university as improvements are scheduled to begin
From staff and wire reports
GRAMBLING, La. — Naquan Smith and his Grambling football teammates have no regrets about a nearly weeklong boycott that forced the university to forfeit its game against Jackson State on Saturday.
“The football team took a stance on what we thought was right,” Smith said. “We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist, and if no one says anything, nothing will become of our institution.”
Grambling’s players staged the boycott because of many issues with university leaders, including the school’s rundown facilities, long bus trips to road games and personnel decisions.
Grambling President Frank Pogue said Monday that players would not face any repercussions. Pogue said work is already scheduled to improve conditions in the team’s weight room.
Pinkel remembers James
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A day after former Washington coach Don James died, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel stood over a podium, misted up and had to compose himself as he spoke of being a “Don James disciple.”
“He’s had just a profound,” Pinkel said as he paused before continuing, “influence on me, my whole life.”
A few weeks ago, Pinkel had one last chance to speak with James, who was his coach at Kent State, then his boss at Kent State and Washington, all of which to Pinkel means that it’s basically Don James’ program in Columbia that is ranked fifth in the BCS.
Pinkel broke down on the long phone message he initially left James, crying and telling him how much he loved him. When James was able to call back a few days later, James’ voice initially was quivering.
“And then all of a sudden, coach James came back: coach James in charge, and the leader,” Pinkel said, smiling. “He asked me about our next game . . . I got to tell him I loved him when he hung up.”
Oregon’s Aliotti fined
Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti was fined $5,000 and reprimanded by the Pac-12 for comments last week questioning league officiating on pass interference and for calling Washington State coach Mike Leach “low-class” for playing starters and throwing until the finish of a 62-38 Ducks victory Saturday.
Before the sanctions were announced, Aliotti issued an apology, saying, “I’m embarrassed that I got caught up in the moment after the game. There’s no excuse, but sometimes right after the game, the adrenaline is still flowing and I made a huge human error in judgment.”