A Georgia college’s white baseball manager is under fire after allegedly telling a black player he couldn’t play on the team because his hair was too long and didn’t conform to the rules set by the coach.
Valdosta State University’s head baseball coach Greg Guilliams was secretly recorded by former player Asher Akridge during a meeting in the coach’s office, where Akridge questioned Guilliams’ reasoning for kicking him off the team based on his hair length.
In a video posted to TikTok by Akridge with the caption “Valdosta state university 2023 or 1945, a player tells the coach he was always respectful and always complied with the strict hair policy.
“If you complied with what I said, you’d got your hair cut and I wouldn’t had to keep telling you about it,” the coach said, alluding that there were multiple times he told the player to chop off his long hair.
Although neither individual is identified in the video, a source told WALB that it was Alkridge and Guilliams.
Guilliams, 61, then takes partial blame for not giving Akridge, 21, clear instructions on how to wear his hair on the baseball team, but was still adamant that he was correct in kicking the college student off the team.
“In all fairness to you, here’s where I failed, what I should of done from the very beginning and I didn’t do it, this is my fault and I could see how I gave you the wrong impression, so I’m not gonna totally blame you because it takes two with everything,” Guilliams says, according to the clip.
“What I should’ve said at the very beginning was ‘this is what you’ve got to do with your hair and then once you do that, I will let you come out there’ and I didn’t do that.”
Akridge was first recruited by FIU in 2019, played for Jacksonville State University during his freshman season in 2022 before he transferred to Valdosta State.
He attempted to point out “discrepancies” in Guilliams’ policy as other players also had long hair and weren’t kicked from the team, but the coach quickly shot it down.
“We are not talking about other guys, I told you before on the phone, we are not going down that route,why would I go down this route again?” Guilliams asked.
“I don’t care what anybody else says, this is between you and me, I’m the head coach, it doesn’t matter what any other player says.
“So again, why would I want you back on the team when we are right back having the same conversation again?”
“My hair is cut, I don’t know why we are having this conversation,” Akridge says before the coach tells him it’s not short enough for the team.
“How is that possible?” Akridge asked, with Guilliams saying it’s his rules and he can make them however he wants.
“I’m the one that sets the rules, I can set whatever rule I want,” Guilliams said.
Warning: Strong language
Massa please. I’s will be a good boy! #valdostastateuniversity
“I want to be treated just like everybody else, what do you mean?” Akridge said as his voice began to crack with emotion.
“If you wanted to be treated like everybody else, then follow the rules I give you,” the coach said. “Conversation over, wild boars could not allow me to put you back on this baseball team. There is no way, it ain’t gonna happen. This conversation is over. I said it on the phone,”
At the end of the video, Akridge shared a photo of himself in a car with his hair just below his ears, followed by a white pitcher for Valdosta whose hair appears to be flowing down past his collar.
The TikTok video, which has been seen over 464,000 times in three days.
Valdosta State, a NCAA Division II public school released a statement after the video went viral saying it is looking into the matter and will make any staff changes if a violation did occur.
“In keeping with the Valdosta State University Non-Discrimination Policy, the university is committed to maintaining a fair, respectful, and non-discriminatory environment for all,” the school said.
“The VSU Office of Human Resources is conducting a comprehensive inquiry into the current matter and will address any personnel actions that are deemed to violate university policy if the inquiry reveals anything. We are progressing through the required due process procedures,” the school said, according to WALB.