GSU volleyball player speaks out on social

Former Grambling State volleyball player Sheila Borders turned to social media and called out Director of Athletics Trayvean Scott, new head coach Chelsey Lucas and other university administrators for what she called a “classless, vindictive, and disrespectful act” in regards to the decision to cut the returning players that “has (left) me drained, emotionally heartbroken, overwhelmed, stressed and sick to my stomach.”

Borders is one of 19 Grambling State volleyball players that Lucas allegedly “cut” from the roster after taking over the program following the end of the 2021 season.

As with social media in this day and age, two sides of the story are being told: the student-athletes and the athletic departments.

Following an 11-17 season on the court by the Lady Tigers, former head coach Demetria Keys-Johnson stepped down in December “to pursue other opportunities within the university.”

On Feb. 14, Lucas was named the successor by Scott. Ironically, a hire announced on Valentines Day has brought anything but love to the Tigers volleyball program and athletics department over the past week.

Lucas released a statement in recent days amidst the turmoil.

“I met with my team, each student athlete, individually to discuss my plans moving forward with the Grambling State University volleyball program,” the statement read. “My decision was to not bring back some of the current student athletes on the team. While student athletes are granted athletic scholarships, a scholarship is not guaranteed and not binding, per NCAA rules and regulations.”

Borders, a senior from Harker Heights, Texas, didn’t mince words in her social media post about her feelings on the roster decisions made by Lucas and supported by Scott.

“I had the opportunity to go to PWIs (predominately white institution), but I chose Grambling,” read Borders’ post. “The love I have for my university and my peers is endless, but to be done dirty by a Southern University product (Scott) and a disgraceful Grambling alum (Lucas) that intentionally came to destroy my teammates is absolutely painful. I feel stuck.

“As a double major and a senior, I do not have the ability to transfer without losing credits. This will delay entrance to medical school and place unwanted stress and financial burden on my single parent mother.”

Sources within the Grambling State community said on Tuesday that there is a lot of “misinformation” out there and that not all of the 19 players were cut. According to one individual, “there were players who quit, players who were cut and players who were given the opportunity to try out again.”

Only 12 of the 19 players were on scholarships per NCAA scholarship limitations.

One source said that three of the players decided to try out, but during the closed tryout session, the remaining players videotaped them, and then made fun of them on the unofficial GSU volleyball Twitter fan page, a page that allegedly is being run by a former player and her mom.

Scott defended the decision and direction and said Lucas did not in fact cut everyone on the past year’s roster.

In an interview with KSLA, Scott said the rumor “that Coach Lucas is bringing (in) an entire team … is inaccurate. Let’s deal in facts. My belief is it’s four or five young ladies. I think the tone and tenor was also that she cut the entire team when in fact she attempted to keep I think four or five.”

Grambling State could feel some long-term effects from Lucas’ decision as it relates to the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR). The departure of that many scholarship athletes could have a significant negative impact on the program’s APR which can lead to penalties, including a potential ban on postseason play. This is determined by the student athletes academic status upon departure and if they enroll in a two-year institution as opposed to a four-year institution upon leaving Grambling.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for Grambling State in recent months, including head football coach Hue Jackson’s controversial hire of Art Briles as offensive coordinator back in the winter. Briles eventually chose not to accept the job after the public outcry from many former Grambling alums including Doug Williams.

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