University named in White lawsuit

A lawsuit in the death of would-be Grambling State basketball player Henry White was filed against GSU and the University of Louisiana System Friday, Jan. 29. White, a 21-year-old junior transfer, collapsed after a pre-season conditioning exercise on Aug. 14. Twelve days later, White died at a Shreveport hospital.

“From (the) Louisiana and the NCAA regulations, I mean it’s a clear breach of duty; I don’t even think that’s in debate in this case,” the White family’s attorney Larry English told KSLA-TV Shreveport.

“This is one of the most egregious institutional failures I’ve ever seen since I’ve been practicing law,” said English.

English was unavailable for comment at press time. GSU had no liability insurance coverage for the athlete, according to an ESPN report.

Seven players, including White, did not report to campus for conditioning per head coach Rick Duckett’s request.
As a result, they were instructed to run “The Tiger Mix” a 4.5 mile path around the outer banks of campus.

White and his fellow teammate Jacobee Lee collapsed during the conditioning exercise.

Both men were treated for heat exhaustion at a Ruston hospital. Lee was reportedly treated there and released. White was transported to the Shreveport hospital.

Although Duckett was not present during the time of the event, assistant coach Steve Portland monitored the players from a golf cart, according to KSLA-TV Shreveport.

Duckett and assistant coaches Portland and Phillip Stitt were fired a month after White’s death.

White’s fee sheet, which would have documented his oficial Grambling State student status, was not stamped until Aug. 20, one week after the run.

“White should not have been running in an organized manner that was conducted by members of our department,” GSU Athletic Director J. Lin Dawson told KSLA-TV.

White’s mother alleged $300,000 of medical expenses, according to the Associated Press.