In 1970, the Syracuse 8 _ which was actually comprised of nine African-American football players at the Syracuse University _ boycotted the entire season. They were protesting the treatment of African-American players by the football program.
The day the famous picture of eight of the players was taken, the ninth player was missing because of an injury. The names and graduation class of the Syracuse 8 (Plus 1) are: Gregory Allen ’72, Richard Bulls ’73, John Godbolt ’73, Dana Harrell ’71, G73, John Lobon 9’73, Clarence “Bucky” McGill ’72, A. Alif Muhammad ’71, Duane Walker ’80 and Ron Womack ’71.
The student-athletes felt Syracuse coach Floyd ‘Ben’ Schwartzwalder, who coached the legendary Jim Brown during his career at Syracuse, used discriminatory practices.
The nine players demanded the football staff become integrated, and that African-American players be afforded a fair opportunity to compete for playing time. They also wanted better medical care, and academic tutorial services for African-American Athletes.
As a result of their boycott, Syracuse conducted an investigation. The report concluded that the player’s concerns were justified, and the university promised to address their issues going forward.
More about the Syracuse 8 appears in a 2006 column written by Bill Rhoden of the New York Times: