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Jackson State University is in the process of refunding tickets for their canceled homecoming game against Grambling State University last Saturday.
According to WMCTV, Grambling forfeited the game Friday night because the football players had been boycotting practice after administration conflicts earlier in the week. The players were unhappy with their long bus trips to Kansas City and Indianapolis, as well as the firing of head coach Doug Williams.
Now, the university is forced to refund the 11,249 tickets that were sold for the canceled football game.
"This is kind of uncharted waters for a situation like this we've got to work the details of that out but anybody that wants a refund they'll be given a refund," Jackson State spokesman Eric Stringfellow said.
Stringfellow estimated that the university lost at least $200,000 from ticket sales alone due to the forfeit, reports USA Today. "We took a big hit from this," he said.
GSU had bad timing for the forfeit, as it was Jackson State University’s homecoming – a big game for them. "Most of Memphis alums that were planning on coming are here," Jackson State University’s Memphis Alumni President Angelia Davis-Webster said. "Most of them came down on yesterday and some traveled this morning."
Trying their best not to disappoint fans who had traveled to see a game, the homecoming parade, a football scrimmage game and an extra-long band performance took place – all for free - despite the forfeit. However, only about 5,500 people filled the stadium, instead of the projected 25,000 had there been a game.
Fans were given until Wednesday to get refunds. Many fans stood in line to get their tickets refunded on Monday, disappointed that there was no game. Most of them were agitated, but not with their school. "I feel as if Grambling should be refunding our money instead of Jackson State," said student Kendrell Showers.
JSU is also processing out-of-town refunds through the mail.
Grambling faces fines of up to $20,000 by the Southwestern Athletic Conference for the forfeit.
“The ramifications of this unprecedented situation are covered in our bylaws and constitution," SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said in a statement. "Therefore, there should not be any confusion as it relates to how a boycotted game will be classified." The teams are still in talks about how Grambling will help Jackson State recover their costs.