RTC typically doesn’t have a lot of SWAC coverage, other than our biweekly correspondent updates on the conference managed faithfully and superbly by HBCUSportsBlog’s inimitable JC. But thanks to a loyal tipster (h/t Bluejay Basketball), we were alerted to a peculiar situation out of that bottom-dwelling league from a game earlier this week. Er, almost a game. From the Monroe (La) News-Star:
The Talladega College (NAIA) men’s basketball team arrived at Grambling’s Assembly Center on Tuesday expecting a game. There was no game to be played. Talladega coach Matt Cross said the team was initially told that the scheduled 7 p.m. game had been delayed because referees were late in arriving, and 20 minutes later, Grambling officials told him the game was canceled because the Southwestern Athletic Conference had forgotten to schedule the referees. “I said, ‘Can we reschedule? We’ll just stay another night,'” Cross said. “They said, ‘No, we’ll just cancel.'”
We’ve heard some harebrained excuses over the years (“sorry about that, but can you believe that I contracted malaria this weekend?”; “my ex called me out of the blue from Korea and said he wanted to get back together”; “I’m really just not into to guys anymore”), but this one certainly strains the seams of credulity. The SWAC forgot to schedule the refs? And no refs could be found within a day’s drive? Hmmm….
Cross, to his credit, smells a dancing Tiger rat in Denmark.
Cross said he suspects there is more to the situation than a scheduling mix-up. He said Grambling just didn’t want to play the game. The Tigers (5-13 overall, 3-4 SWAC) were blown out at home 83-58 by conference rival Jackson State on Saturday, and Talladega already has four wins over SWAC teams this season: Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Southern, and Mississippi Valley State. “They didn’t want to play the game,” said Cross, a Shreveport native. “They wanted to save the embarrassment.”
So Talladega boarded onto its bus and took the 7-hour trek east back home. The school will still receive its $2500 guarantee for the game, but can you imagine if, say, Duke showed up at the Dean Dome next month and UNC said, “y’know, we couldn’t find any refs, so you’re just going to have to get on back to Derm. It’s the ACC’s fault. See ya!” Absurd.