Must Be The Money, Or Is It Delusion? Grambling State Fires Hue Jackson After Only Two Seasons Because He Doesn’t Get HBCU Culture

The Hue Jackson era is over at Grambling State University in Louisiana, and having left the football program in better shape than when he entered, it begs the question: what happened?

Without a massive windfall in cash flow from the football program, Jackson’s services are no longer needed, as Grambling currently ranks 13th in HBCU sports profits out of 21 teams and Top 5 in revenue losses. In 2018, the team was ranked 14th by revenue, which is similar.

Hue Jackson Understands Deion’s HBCU Criticisms

However, although it is easy to judge a coach by the wins and losses, there are inherent problems within the systems of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities that other former NFL-caliber professionals like Deion Sanders decried.


Jackson felt he needed more time to turn the program around and was cut short, but the narrative is the same: lack of resources.

“I think we all know programs can’t be turned around in two years at institutions where funding is extremely inadequate; facilities, equipment, and training support are in significant despair,” Jackson said on the “Offscript” podcast. “Institutional support is limited, and opportunities are derailed at every turn; I think we know that. Again, the lack of transparency, coordination, and collaboration will continue, in my opinion, to plague the HBCUs. Those things got to be dealt with.”

He continued, “You have to give it three years when you come in the first year. I’m not just talking about Grambling but about any place. You need to make sure you understand the lay of the land.” He added that as for the firing, “he And “I would have felt as though it was warranted if this year looked like the first year.”

Still, Jackson needed time to adjust to the differences at an HBCU — which is primarily the culture. Jackson stated throughout his tenure that he needed time to embrace HBCU culture and traditions. Grambling went 0-2 in the Bayou Classic under Jackson and failed to reach the SWAC Championship in each season, which is akin to a death march.

Grambling State says it knows exactly what type of person they are looking for going forward.

“Somebody who can galvanize the base,” Grambling athletic director Trayvean Scott said during a press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 28. “Somebody who really understands that this is a very special place. Somebody that understands the expectations,” Scott said.

“I was just having a conversion, and one of our student-athletes said, ‘I’m probably the only student-athlete in the history of our institution, on the football side, to leave here and not win a championship.’ That’s significant. And we’ve got to identify a coach who understands that and welcomes them because we’re not going to shy away from them, not just in football but in any sport.”

Same Old Song

Grambling completed the 2023 season with a losing record of 5-6 overall, including a season-ending 27-22 loss to Baton Rouge’s Southern University on Saturday in the Bayou Classic. Ironically, Southern leads all HBCUs in NCAA Division I revenue.

In total, Jackson went 8-14, improving from just three wins in 2022 to five wins this past season. However, this improved from the season before he was named head coach in December 2021, which yielded a 0-4 record and last place in the SWAC West.

Jackson had replaced former head coach Broderick Fobbs, whom Grambling fired after eight seasons. Jackson agreed to a four-year $1.6 million contract that paid him an annual salary of $400,000.

The bright side for Jackson is that with only the first two years guaranteed, Grambling will still pay the remaining portion of Jackson’s second-year salary over the current fiscal year.

Having echoed similar frustrations to the ones Deion Sanders often expressed at Jackson State before leaving for Colorado and those also expressed by Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who was done dirty by Bethune-Cookman before he even got a chance to garner the school more funding and respect, Hue Jackson’s tenure at Grambling can be surmised as an attempt to enrich the HBCU football ranks organically.

Unfortunately, he got the hook quicker than most NFL coaches, which isn’t a great look for his legacy, but not all his fault. Patience is just not a virtue anymore in college sports on all levels.

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