TGrambling State University’s volleyball program caught the attention of the HBCU community this spring and summer for all the wrong reasons.
The athletics department has come under fire for the way it has handled the volleyball program in recent months. Following reports of newly hired head volleyball coach Chelsey Lucas firing the entire team in April, it was announced earlier this month that Lucas had been fired after an internal investigation.
The athletic department initially supported Lucas and her alleged decision for the team, but sang a different tune when she was fired. Lucas later publicly claimed that she had been ordered by the director of athletics, Trayvean Scott, to sell the entire team, suggesting this was not her call.
There are still many questions that arise about what’s next for everyone involved in this situation.
Lucas said after the dismissal that she had been unfairly fired and would look for a lawyer. It was not immediately clear whether she has or will file a lawsuit against the school.
Lucas said in an interview shortly after her resignation that she was ordered to get off the team.
“I was literally told at one point to get rid of them all,” said Lucas, who previously worked as a head volleyball coach at Alcorn State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 247 Sports in an interview published earlier this month. “But I turned around in that same meeting and told him ‘No, that’s not what we’re going to do’ and I wasn’t alone in that meeting, I had two other coaches sitting with me in that meeting.”
“I met 14 girls the day we had our year-end meetings. I met them on April 4. There were girls I gave them the reasons why you’re no longer part of the Grambling volleyball program, and there were student athletes that I asked – I asked – that I want you to be a part of this program. This is your decision. I want you to come in and help me build a winning program here,” Lucas explained. “I was looking for the university to make a statement and say this didn’t happen,” she said. “I was looking for (Scott), I was looking for my student information director (Taylor Jealewis), I was looking for someone other than me to say this didn’t happen.”
NewsOne made repeated attempts to contact Lucas to ask her about her future, but did not receive an immediate response.
Since Lucas’ resignation, an online petition to provide the athletes who were laid off in April with their scholarships is starting to gain significant traction during this debacle. The petition has nearly 4,000 signatures at the time of publishing this article.
Grambling State said all volleyball student athletes who had scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year will retain their place on their roster after Lucas’ termination. Walk-ons can also keep their place.
“Lucas has been terminated due to findings from the investigation!!! The Ladies of Grambling Volleyball want Grambling State University’s athletics department to reinstate athletic scholarships in the hopes of enabling the remaining players to complete their athletic careers and enabling the student-athletes to complete their education debt-free.” the petition in part. “These ladies are ready to join forces with new recruits and future coach! The majority of the players who have stayed are seniors and want to complete their legacy. Praying Grambling State will continue to do the right thing and keep the ladies in their best interests!”
The Twitter account for fans of Grambling State volleyball tweeted on Tuesday that it expected “positive news” this week about the players who had been cut.
Grambling State Volleyball
The Grambling State volleyball program is now in an interesting predicament. With less than two months before the team’s schedule starts, they are without a head coach.
NewsOne contacted Grambling State’s athletics department to inquire about the search for a new volleyball coach, but received no immediate response.
Grambling State officials released multiple statements at the time Lucas was fired.
“The success of student athletes and their ability to enroll at Grambling State University is a top priority,” said Dr. Trayvean Scott, president of intercollegiate athletics for GSU. “As we make progress in this transition and begin a national search for the next coach, all student volleyball athletes who have received scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year will retain their scholarships and remain on the team. Walk-ons will also keep their place on the list.”
“It is the responsibility of this institution to ensure that student-athletes receive opportunities in a manner consistent with all regulatory organizations,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “That applies as much to athletics as it does to academics.”
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