A letter written to the University of Louisiana System and signed by “The 2021 Grambling State University G-Men,” which expressed a “no vote of confidence” in university president Rick Gallot, was addressed by system president Jim Henderson, according to a Lincoln Parish Journal report.
The letter listed specific issues which the football team argued led to “the decline” of the football program’s performance over recent years. The problems highlighted included “misappropriation and diversion of funds for the football program,” a “failure to provide a safe environment,” and “failure to provide, promote and support proper athletic staff.”
“Issues in the football program are dealt with by the coach, the athletic director and the president, if necessary,” Henderson told the LPJ. “Some of the safety things (mentioned in the letter), that’s been a focus for Grambling for some time. The Facilities Master Plan includes some state-of-the-art security upgrades.”
Not only did Henderson express his full support of Gallot as president, but indicated he’s committed to providing Grambling all the support it needs to excel in sports and the classroom.
“I’m focused on getting all of the resources we can possibly get to reinforce some of the great progress already been made at Grambling — in both academics and athletics,” Henderson said. “It’s not merely having faith in our presidents; it’s faith in continual correspondence and communication.”
Junior defensive back Rey Estes spoke with HBCU Sports as the team’s representative and confirmed the letter’s authenticity. He said lodging and meals steadily worsened during road trips as the season progressed.
“You expect us to go out here and perform at a high level, at a certain particular speed, but we’re waking up six o’clock in the morning to eat cereal,” Estes said. “We feel like we’re not put in the best position as a team, as football players, as young men to win football games when competing against the other guys.” He said such meals were typical for the team during breakfast on road trips, with selections limited to cereal, milk, bagels, and danishes.
Estes further discussed the deteriorating conditions of the football team’s locker room and concerns about player safety. He said the team played with defective equipment, including shoulder pads and helmets that couldn’t be pumped with air for proper fitting.
Gallot said he’s asked athletic director Trayvean Scott to investigate the matter.
“On the field or in the classroom, the safety of each student is paramount,” Gallot said in a statement provided to the LPJ by the university. “As a result, I’ve asked the Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics (Trayvean Scott) to investigate the issues raised in the claim to ensure no GSU athletics staff member has allowed any student-athlete to perform in an unsafe environment or situation.”