"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 (AL) 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."
Talladega College has knocked off four Division I college teams this season. And that makes the case of the missing referees at Grambling all the more interesting.
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.
Talladega coach Matt Cross talked about how disappointed his team was by the forfeit:
"They were so disappointed, I'd never seen them that distraught. They really wanted to play the game. They get excited to play bigger schools."