August 7, 2003
Albany- Albany State has suspended football practice indefinitely as the Golden Rams mourn the tragic death of defensive lineman Jackie Blanding.
The 26-year old Blanding died after he collapsed when he was running at the sand dunes near the Albany State campus around eight this morning.
Blanding was preparing for his first practice with the Golden Ram football team after he transferred to Albany State from Middle Georgia College.
Middle Georgia disbanded their football program two years ago and an athletic department representative had no information that Blanding played football for the Warriors.
His death has shocked an Albany State football team who understandably cancelled the first scheduled practice of the season this morning.
Albany State officials are not releasing any information until they can meet with Blanding's parents who are expected to arrive in town this evening.
After winning seven of their final eight games last year, the Golden Rams were looking forward to the 2003 campaign where they are expected to challenge Tuskegee for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.
Albany State's first game is three weeks from Saturday at Valdosta State.
For now the Golden Rams will remain off the practice field as the mourn the death of their lost teammate.