TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) -The road-weary Talladega College players arrived for a Grambling State game with hopes of pulling off another upset of a bigger team and left without hearing a single whistle blow.
Turns out there was no officiating crew to call the game.
``When we get to the gym they notify us that the referees were running late,'' Talladega head coach and athletic director Matt Cross told The Anniston Star. Cross said the team was told the game would be delayed for a half hour.
Twenty minutes later, the game was canceled, with Grambling officials saying the Southwestern Athletic Conference had failed to assign officials ``and have a safe trip back and we'll mail you the guaranteed money,'' Cross said.
``I offered to try to make sense of the situation and they were just blaming everything on the SWAC,'' Cross said. ``Then I even offered to stay another night and play the game on Wednesday, but they were adamant about not playing the game.''
The Tornadoes had driven through Sunday night, arriving early the following morning after an eight-hour bus ride.
Duane Lewis, assistant commissioner for the SWAC, said that lining up officials is the home team's responsibility, not the league's. He said Grambling athletic director J. Lin Dawson is looking into the situation.
Messages left to Dawson and a Grambling spokesman by The Associated Press were not immediately returned Thursday.
Talladega, a historically black private liberal arts college in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, has beaten four Division I colleges this season and has several players from Louisiana.
``They were so disappointed,'' Cross said. ``I'd never seen them that distraught. They really wanted to play the game. They get excited to play bigger schools.''
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