Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Hawaii ‘not happy’
about being fined
by conference

The WAC may change
the six-credit rule, after UH
is penalized for not complying

By Dave Reardon

Western Athletic Conference officials are looking at altering an eligibility rule with which the University of Hawaii did not comply last fall.

UH was reprimanded and fined by the league yesterday for not certifying that its football players had passed six credits of classes in the fall semester before the ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl. Hawaii officials said they did not comply because there wasn't enough time from the end of the semester on Dec. 20 to the game on Dec. 25.

"Obviously it was a rule that could not be placed into effect," Warriors coach June Jones said. "We had two choices. Either not comply with the rule or not play the game."

The WAC announced a public reprimand and a fine of UH for an undisclosed amount yesterday. The fine was $5,000, a UH official said.

"Certainly the WAC understands the difficulty that the University of Hawaii had in administering the rule as a result of the timing of the end of the institution's final exams and the date of the bowl game," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "However, all conference institutions must be held to the same standards regarding rules compliance."

Fresno State and Boise State -- the WAC's two other schools that played in bowl games last year -- did comply. Their semesters ended before Hawaii's did.

Another WAC school, Louisiana Tech, could have difficulties certifying athletes if it qualifies for NCAA regional competition in outdoor track and field, baseball or softball this spring. Those events start May 30, and LaTech's semester ends May 27.

UH's spring semester ends May 20.

"We had a teleconference about that last Friday," UH faculty representative Steve Martin said. "The problem is that different schools end their semesters on different dates. There's a proposal in the works to modify things for the spring sports."

The WAC also expects to address the issue in depth at its meetings April 24-26 in Monterey, Calif. That could help if UH is in the Hawaii Bowl again this year, but school officials are disappointed with the WAC's ruling.

"We are not happy with any sanction of any kind -- even the simple reprimand and relatively small fine imposed in this case," UH-Manoa chancellor Peter Englert said. "But I think the conference will realize that the six-credit rule needs to be reexamined so that member schools are not placed in this impossible situation in the future."

Said UH athletic director Herman Frazier: "Naturally we are deeply disappointed that the conference did not see the merits of our case. As a member institution we are obligated to comply with conference rules, but clearly it was impossible for us to do so for purely technical reasons."

UH Athletics

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