In a letter attributed to Jackson State University spokesperson Eric Stringfellow and posted to the university’s newsroom, Jackson State University today announced plans to pursue litigation against Grambling State University for its forfeit and non-appearance during the JSU homecoming last weekend.
Sources close to JSU administration indicate that losses laid out in the letter can never be repaid or accounted for, namely, donations from athletic booster members who did not attend scheduled functions, invited state legislators and lobbyists, and a percentage of gate, concession and tailgating receipts from projected gameday revenues.
The player boycott at Grambling ended on Monday, after athletes committed to resuming practice and playing in this weekend’s home game against Texas Southern University.
Below is the letter in full.
The Jackson State University community experienced an unprecedented event during our Homecoming Week.
The cancellation of the football game was disappointing for faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters. Yet we did not allow it to diminish our tradition of coming together and celebrating the university’s history and legacy.
Thank you for your assistance and patience for making this Homecoming like no other.
The Charlie Wilson concert was sold out, with some revelers dancing in the aisles. The Greek Show was well attended. Our Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway was packed with alumni and students with their families. This was a testament to the strong spirit of those who refused to let another institution’s challenges dampen JSU’s Homecoming.
Still, the JSU family was damaged. Our Homecoming game draws tens of thousands of fans. The university intends to use litigation to be made whole for our direct and indirect financial losses.
We have a fiduciary responsibility to Mississippi taxpayers and the JSU community to mitigate our ongoing and substantial losses. Jackson State plans to pursue litigation against Grambling State and others.
Grambling’s issues are well documented and long standing. Those issues, however, are not JSU’s issues nor are these JSU’s responsibility.
Grambling repeatedly assured us its team would travel to Jackson. Late Friday afternoon they informed us their student athletes would not travel to Jackson for our scheduled game. We have dealt in good faith with Grambling and the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The actions of both have hurt JSU.
The SWAC commissioner did not return calls from our director of athletics the entire week. The Clarion-Ledger reported the SWAC commissioner would be meeting with folks at Grambling and JSU. We haven’t seen him, nor has he called.
Jackson State University’s and the city of Jackson’s losses could be in the millions. It would be irresponsible for JSU to fail to pursue some redress.
Again, Jackson State University appreciates the overwhelming support from our alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends.