New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Organizers of the Bayou Classic reportedly have considered dropping Grambling State as one of the permanent teams in the annual Southwestern Athletic Conference showcase.
WWLTV.com reported managers of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the host site for the Bayou Classic, have discussed replacing Grambling as a participant against Southern University, citing low attendance by Grambling fans in recent years. The Thanksgiving weekend event between the two schools turns 41 this year.
"If Grambling has fallen off that bad, maybe Southern could take the lead and it could be an earned-in game and bring in somebody else," Robert Bruno, the commissioner of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, told WWLTV. "I just don't know if Grambling can carry the load."
Grambling has an enrollment of just under 5,000 students, which is smaller than Southern's.
Grambling's storied program also is at a low point, coming off back-to-back one-win seasons as well as a 2013 campaign in which its players staged a six- day walkout and forced the school to forfeit a game at Jackson State.
In addition to football, the Bayou Classic is known for featuring an entertaining battle of the school bands. Last year's 40th annual game drew 47,385 fans, up from prior years but down considerably from pre-Hurricane Katrina years, when crowds of 70,000 or more were routine.
Southern won last year's game, 40-17, and went on to win the SWAC championship game one week later.