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Report: Letter from Grambling players cites unhealthy conditions

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

The walk-outs and protesting of Grambling State's football team led to the cancellation of Saturday's meeting with Jackson State. School officials are meeting this weekend to seek a resolution, and ESPN has obtained a letter from the players that details the many issues with the football program.

The players' letter cites several issues with the facilities and treatment, ranging from a lack of upkeep to health and safety hazards, and forcing student-athletes to pay for training supplies and even summer school out of their own pockets.

Players also criticized the care applied to their uniforms and gear, blaming a lack of proper cleaning as reasons why "several players have been infected with staph multiple times."

According to the letter, the athletic complex is filled with mildew and mold, with faltering walls and ceilings contributing to water leaks in the building. The poor condition of the weight room was a common reference when the walk-outs started, but the letter points out not only the issues with the floor, but that players have tripped because of it while lifting large amounts of weight.

Grambling school spokesman Will Sutton told ESPN that Grambling received a 57 percent cut in state funding over the past several years. The cuts have affected the entire campus, with many buildings, including the library, suffering the same effects of neglect mentioned by the football team in their letter.

"If people want to get this fixed, there are two things they can do: Make a donation to the Grambling Foundation and the other is lobby legislators to fund Grambling at the level it should be funded," Sutton told ESPN.

The players finished their letter by addressing the dismissal of head coach Doug Williams and their displeasure with former interim coach George Ragsdale. Defensive coordinator Dirt Winston, one of the coaches favored by the players according to the letter, was named interim head coach on Thursday after Ragsdale was fired.

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