1. Now that Grambling is back on top, should we schedule more of the old Division I-AA powerhouses, the Appy States and so forth, maybe in Shreveport in order to get some kind of measuring stick for where the program stands nationally? — Rick, Monroe
It was an unforgettable night of football: McNeese State, coming off a runner-up finish in the I-AA national championship game, is pushed until late in a 2003 game at Robinson Stadium by a Grambling team that itself had just secured its third consecutive SWAC title. As much as Doug Williams hated to hear it from me that night, there was honor in that loss. It showed GSU was fielding a team that could compete at the very highest level of its division. The question of scheduling more games like that at Grambling, however, is complicated by things that have nothing to do with down and distance. GSU’s football schedule, as much as at any college in the nation, must help float the budget for the larger athletic program. That puts enormous pressure on those who sign opponents at Grambling not just to put together an interesting package of games — but also contests that will sell. For all of the on-field magic surrounding that McNeese contest, it wasn’t a sell out. The last time Grambling played in Shreveport was also a sales disaster — despite featuring a rematch of the previous year’s SWAC Championship Game participants. Fans hate to hear it, but that factors in, too. I’m eager to see how Northwestern State does with the local fanbase this year at The Rob. A good turnout there would go a long way toward encouraging the powers that be to schedule outside of the traditional HBCU family of programs in the future.
2: A while back, you mentioned a new hall of fame for the Grambling Legends. Where does that stand? — T.C., Dallas
Meetings, both in person and through teleconference, continue. The Grambling Legends group will induct 20 into its first Hall of Fame class and, though that seems like a large contingency, fans knowledgeable about the depth of the athletic success at Grambling over the years can imagine how difficult this winnowing process can quickly become. Organizers narrowed the group of candidates by establishing an initial list of nine inductees, then limiting those being evaluated for this initial group of honorees to pre-1970. Several of those who founded this new fundraising arm for Grambling athletics, including James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, also removed their own names from consideration. The initial nine are R.W.E. Jones, Eddie G. Robinson, Fred Hobdy, Collie J. Nicholson, Willie Brown, Junious “Buck” Buchanan, Willie Davis, Charlie Joiner and Willis Reed. The nominating group is now completing a list of another 11 potential inductees for consideration by the Legends membership. An inaugural induction ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. July 18 at northeastern Louisiana’s Monroe Civic Center.
TDR mailbag: Non-conference foes, the draft, a Thursday night game
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