Bayou Classic in Trouble

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The Bayou Classic is the best rivalry game between two historically black college football programs, with Grambling State and Southern squaring off in the branded game since 1974 (the series began in ’36).

For the last 24 years, the game has been held on Thanksgiving Saturday at the Superdome in New Orleans, with the exception of 2005 when the game was moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

The game has become a Louisiana event, even if a small one, but now change could be coming.

According to a News Star report, managers of the Superdome are considering removing Grambling from the game due to low attendance and replacing it with another annual opponent or alternating opponents.

From the report:

“If Grambling has fallen off that bad, maybe Southern could take the lead and it could be an earned-in game and bring in somebody else,” said Robert Bruno, the commissioner of the LSED. “I just don’t know if Grambling can carry the load.”

Grambling has finished with records of 1-10 and 1-11 the past two years. Even when Grambling was very successful, the game usually featured a much larger crowd of Southern fans.

Management is also considering moving the game from Thanksgiving Saturday to the opening weekend of the season.

It would be the latest knock on Grambling, which has been a program in turmoil recently.

After head coach Doug Williams was fired last season, Grambling players walked out on a meeting with the president and athletic director. They also staged a boycott over issues with school leadership and the poor state of the program’s facilities, among other things, which led to a canceled game against Jackson State.

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