At first glance, the turmoil that has erupted in the Grambling State University football program appears to be unique. Last week, players rebelled against moldering facilities and daylong bus trips to games by boycotting practices. On Friday, when it was time to depart for Jackson (Miss.) State, only 22 of Grambling's 80 players showed up, forcing the Tigers to forfeit.
The players' actions resonated in part because of the proud history of the Grambling team—arguably the premiere football program among the nation's more than 100 historically black colleges and universities—and the legacy of its greatest coach, Eddie G. Robinson, who won an NCAA Division-I record 408 games between 1941 and 1997. More important, the boycott marked the first time in modern history that a Division-I football game was canceled by player protest.