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READ: Roscoe Nance’s full coverage on Grambling University.

Roland Martin talks with Grambling State University President Frank Pogue about the current debacle happening at the historic HBCU. Read the full interview below.

ROLAND MARTIN:  …A tough weekend for Grambling University national attention focus on the Louisiana school when the football team refused to get on the bus to head to Jackson State.  They had to forfeit the game.  The players say there are significant problems on the campus when it comes to their facilities.  Joining us right now is the President of Grambling, Dr. Frank Pogue.  Sir, good morning.

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Hello there, hello there.

ROLAND MARTIN:  Certainly glad to talk with you.  Let’s get right to it.  This was unprecedented to have a football team say we simply are not going to play a game.  There was lots of back and forth all week.  And of course you guys had to forfeit the game.  You apologized to Jackson State.  Will Grambling play this weekend?  Will you be able to resolve this conflict some call a mutiny with your football team.

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Yes.  Let me say first of all, though, that Grambling State University is a very proud, historically black institution that is 112 years old.  And we continue to offer excellent academic programs in some 47 disciplines.  And the university itself is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities.

ROLAND MARTIN:  De. Pogue, I got to ask you, you said yes.  How are you going to resolve the conflict.  Will it start with players attending practice today?  Because that hasn’t been a guarantee for the past week.

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Yes.  Now, first of all we want our players, and all of our students, to understand that we respect the rights of all of our students to express their concerns.  To let their voice be heard, and to let all of us know what’s on their mind.  This is a wonderful nation that has something called the First Amendment and the Freedom of Speech.  Now having said that, we encourage our men, and we have received the concerns raised by our football players.  We are addressing those concerns right now, we have addressed most of the concerns already.

ROLAND MARTIN:  Addressed most of those concerns, we’re talking about the cleaning of the facility.  What about the issue when it comes to mats on the weight room floor?  When it comes to not getting protein drinks as they allege?  They made a number of allegations including to the point of have inadequate washing of team uniforms.

SYBIL WILKES:  Unsanitary conditions.

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Yes, but you see, this – first of all, this is not true, first of all.  Now I do want …

ROLAND MARTIN:  Now when you say this is not true, what is not true?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Yeah, the conditions that you just described …

ROLAND MARTIN:  But the players, sir, posted photos over the weekend that also were put on ESPN showing mildew on walls, showing dirt and debris on weight belts.  They posted some 30 different photos, so where did those photos come from?  So we say it’s not true, but where did those photos come from showing filth, and mildew, and mold and dirt?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Let me just say also that the Health Department recently visited our campus towards the weight room and other facilities and determined that there was no health hazard, there were no mold, and no mildew.

ROLAND MARTIN:  You say recently.  When was that?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  October 7th.  October 7th.



ROLAND MARTIN:  I have a – go ahead.

DR. FRANK POGUE:  So I do also want you to know that we have made significant contributions to athletics.  We have not expected athletics to make contributions to our serious, serious budget issue at Grambling where since I’ve been here in four years we have lost 57% of our state funding.  Right now we are funding, we are very close to declaring financial exigency.  We are …


DR. FRANK POGUE:  So today, in a financial emergency at Grambling …

ROLAND MARTIN:  … lay the blame at the feet of Governor Bobby Jindal because of the massive education cuts to state education.  Is he largely to blame for what is going on, the financial condition of Grambling State University?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Well, let me just say all universities in Louisiana are suffering as a result of massive budget cuts.  Grambling, of course, being an HBCU, suffers even more because Grambling, as an HCBU, has never been equally funded with other institutions in the first place.  So when you cut Grambling $5 or $10 million dollars it hurts.  Now we need money, yeah.  For those who care about Grambling State University please write a check.  Send it to our Grambling University Foundation.

SYBIL WILKES: …What about the things that have been donated to the school that were not used, such as the students indicated the flooring was donated in order to clean up some of the unsanitary conditions, and they said that was just put to the side and not being used?

ROLAND MARTIN:  Yeah, is it true that your former coach, Doug Williams, got outside money to buy the flooring.  It was placed down, but according to critics you and others said that it was done improperly and the mats were picked up and stored elsewhere.  Was that the case?  Did that happen?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  Let me just say that this is a State public university.  And everyone knows that there are many procedures that we must follow.  It is not acceptable by the state of Louisiana for anyone to simply accept a donation in a leadership role and sign a contract to have alterations done to state property without appropriate steps of approval that I must always report to state government.  So no one has a right to change state property, and this is what we’re talking about now, there are procedures that we must follow to make sure …

ROLAND MARTIN:  I got you.  But Doctor, I got to ask you …

DR. FRANK POGUE:  … that gifts are accepted, and in this case that you’re describing, those procedures were not followed.  And they have not been followed.  And thus the university has taken over the contract itself with the firm that we’ve had donations made, yes, by external groups.  But you don’t make donations to the university and just move ahead without following state procedures.

ROLAND MARTIN:  I got to ask you real quick, Dr., you’ve got financial problems, but you fired Doug Williams.  You have to pay off his contract.  You’re paying an interim coach right now.  Does it make sense to fire someone and pay them off when you have financial difficulty as opposed to waiting till the end of the year?  Was it wrong to get rid of Doug Williams as your coach?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  The bottom line is that Grambling State University is doing the right thing.  What we tried to do is to honor Doug’s contract, and that’s exactly what we did.  We bought him out of his contract.  And that’s the bottom line.  That’s what we did.

SYBIL WILKES:  Will you play this Saturday?

DR. FRANK POGUE:  We need, of course, to play not only this Saturday; we need to complete our season.  So what we are asking, of course, our players, and our parents and guardians as well, to encourage our players to honor the commitment that they made to the institution when they received scholarships to play football.  

We love our players, we love all of our students, we support all of our students.  And I’ve assured them that we support them 100% and will continue to tell them that.  But we now have a need to move on.  The points have been made.  They have been heard nationally.  We have addressed many of those concerns.  We are addressing others, not only in football, but in other sports and other needs around the university and there are many needs here, because we don’t have any money.

29 thoughts on “Grambling President: ‘For Those Who Care About Grambling State University, Please Write a Check’

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  3. Rhemas Place on said:

    The state funding for Grambling, ULM, LSU, Tech, etc. has been cut to the bone…ULM has been drastically cutting jobs and delaying much needed capital outlay projects for the past few years because of budget constraints…ULM just had a round of cuts a couple of weeks ago and will make another round of cuts by the end of the year…This is a statewide problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. I do also believe that the President, players, administrators, etc. all have a part in what is going on at Grambling.

  4. Sexy Leroy on said:

    The HBCU model is dead and this kind of crap is just one of the problems! Go check out these public universities where black,white,asian,hispanic, gay and lez students are welcomed: Oregon, Washington, USC, Alabama and Arizona– I guarantee you won’t find squalor. We spend our lives trying to get black gets into good elementary and high schools then turn around and settle for an HBCU?!?! THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD IS DIVERSE.

    • Sexy Leroy. I do not know what happen in your life. But I did not settle nor did the people I know to go to an HBCU, it was a choice. I am pretty sure people know you can go to those schools.
      Go to sleep please. You are the type of person who don’t get it and never will.

      • Sexy Leroy on said:

        Okay. Two black graduates interview for the same job. One went to Oregon (or any other non-HBCU public university) and the other, Grambling (or any other HBCU). Everything is equal as far as the interview and offers are concerned- Who gets the job?

      • Sexy Leroy. With the world being all diverse and all. They would choose the one with the most knowledge about the position and the best credentials. RIGHT??

  5. Norman on said:

    Dr Pogue is playing typical Louisiana politics…..blame the government !!!!! I understand that GSU is a state university. However, you as president of GSU need to pursue means to raise funds via athletics and the band and reduce expenses such as administrative.
    I admire the student-athletes that took this action and I wish all student-athletes would take such action to improve the education at their school.

  6. NJHBCUAlum on said:

    Point of clarification on African Americans who are and are not HBCU Alums. Yolanda Adams went to Texas Southern, not Tennessee State, and John Legend went to the University of Pennsylvania, not the University of Philadelphia.

  7. Wild Bill on said:

    Wild Bill, How many AD’s and Presidents have to be fired, before we as G-Men face the fact, Its not The president or the AD it”s DOUG>

  8. Neisha on said:

    Dr. Pogue is so out of touch and completely closed-minded. How can you take up floor mats because they weren’t obtained properly and leave that facility that way it is? You can’t accept donated floor mats, but you’re asking listeners for a check. Makes no sense.

  9. I am so glade you people are all concern about Grambling. The protest/boycott cost another HBCU financial hardship also. In case no one knew all these HBCU’S are holding on by a thread. Grambling has a home game and a homecoming coming up, if they wanted to make a point than do it on your own home game. People at JSU suffer a lost and had Grambling came they would have got all the support from JSU for their issue. At this point I hope JSU adm sue them, even if they do not get a cent. And please leave the SWAC. This could only happen in the SWAC…

    • So Jackson State could benefit from the gate receipts, but GSU would not? The players did the correct thing. This is like FAMU going un-punished for their hazing. Why is it we have dirty laundry to air, but when we do it, IT’S TABOO. WE know things are not right, and the players have to be safe, just as other students on campus.


      • Wildflower on said:

        You got that right Billy! I have never worked so hard in my life than when I worked to keep my scholarship. Yes, work to keep it because they will snatch it as quick as they give it if you do not comply.



    • Rhemas Place on said:

      The state funding for Grambling, ULM, LSU, Tech, etc. has been cut to the bone…ULM has been drastically cutting jobs and delaying much needed capital outlay projects for the past few years because of budget constraints…ULM just had a round of cuts a couple of weeks ago and will make another round of cuts by the end of the year…This is a statewide problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. I do also believe that the President, players, administrators, etc. all have a part in what is going on at Grambling.

  11. Clarence on said:

    I agree write a Grambling check, JUST DON”T SEND IT TO POGUE!

    Would you and your spouse fly because a trip is too long but make your kids ride a bus saying, “we will see y’all when you get there?
    Imagine two 6′ 320lb. line backers sharing a bus seat! …for 16 hrs.

    • SSnaquan on said:

      Doesn’t seem like your are a real Gramblinite to me. It seems that, like many others, you want to place on the blame on Dr. Pogue. Maybe he should be blamed for some of this “debacle” but so are many others, including me and you! Where is your money? What have you done? If you don’t send your check to Dr. Pogue, whom do you send it to? Doug! That’s the problem so far. Sir, if you are not going to face the issue with a Christian mind and heart, maybe you should just ZIP IT!! Still have love for you brother, but please be fair, honest and truthful.

      • where is the state funding going….as I stated, LSU and the other white schools are getting their shares of the taxes, and casino monies????

  12. I heard this interview, and quite frankly, this mealy mouth would have did best just to keep his mouth shut. Never mind the fact his noted incapability to provide a straight answer to a question was well noted, but the standard ploy him of blaming others concerning why this debacle ever came to be in the first place made it hard to listen this morning.

    Students, alumni, and anyone associated with Grambling, ought to be ashamed and deserve better.

    • Wildflower on said:

      I agree and it’s people like him and so of the other black presidents of HBCU’s that I have had the lack of pleasure meeting is why we are still dead last as a race. At some point black people need to stop worrying about every other race and decide to build on their own or 50- 100 yrs from now we will still be seen as the welfare race.

    • I agree, he gave no real answers. Especially related to Coach Williams and why a real need being addressed has to be sidelined because of no state approval. It is so sad when you also say that the state has cut the funding, but they can still make you toe the line and deny your players real relief and a better training facility. I say you are just helping your state do what it has said all along that it wants to do, get rid of you by any means possible.

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