“Oh my goodness! Are you serious?” These words that were uttered after hearing that Tuesday night’s basketball game, between Grambling State University and Talladega College, was cancelled.
“You have got to be kidding, right? You mean the game is cancelled because they don’t have referees?”
No one can remember such an event ever taking place at Grambling State University. Immediately rushing over to the Assembly Center, pulling up in preparation to park, and meeting people leaving the gym by car and foot.
Entering the doors of a nearly empty Assembly Center and going straight to the gym . EMPTY!
The rumor was confirmed. There was no crowd, no noise, no basketball players, and ultimately no game.
A few spectators lingered, and they were clearly disgusted about the evening’s events – or lack thereof.
Bo Roberts, a Talladega supporter, traveled 85 miles from Greenwood to see the game. He was informed by his daughter when he entered the gym that the game wouldn’t take place.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Roberts said.
“This is very unprofessional. State universities should know about the referees,” he said.
Traveling approximately eight hours, Matt Cross, the athletic director and head coach of Talladega, was visibly upset by the experience.
Cross, who is originally from Shreveport and has three players on the team from Louisiana, shared how playing the game would have been appropriate and convenient.
“Despite us being a small college, we’ve beat every team (we’ve played) in the SWAC. This would’ve been another win,” he stated.
Cross expressed how sad he was for his players and all the practices they went through in preparation for the game – the walk-throughs, watching videos about GSU’s basketball team, and the long trip they made practically for nothing.
“I believe there is something deeper than just the referees,” Cross stated. “The truth will come to light. There will be justification.”
Cross later told The News-Star that GSU was scared to play his team.
“They didn’t want to play the game,” Cross told The News-Star. “They wanted to save the embarrassment.”
The game is not expected to be rescheduled.
According to The News-Star, Talladega College President Billy Hawkins said the institution would pursue reimbursement for travel costs. Talladega will, however, still receive its $2,500 guarantee.
The Tigers are scheduled to play another basketball game Saturday, against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Golden Lions. Should the audience be prepared to expect more “missing in action” referees this weekend?