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Friday, April 25, 2003



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RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Defensive end Kila Kamakawiwo'ole collided with wide receiver Britton Komine during yesterday's spring scrimmage.




WAC looking
at 6-credit rule

The conference OKs a temporary
measure allowing some leeway in
determining academic eligibility


Certification of athletes figures to be less of a logistical problem in the future for Hawaii and other Western Athletic Conference schools that have semesters ending near the dates of bowl games and NCAA tournaments.

Last week the WAC board of directors approved an emergency measure for this semester that will allow use of the grades from the previous semester to determine postseason NCAA eligibility if grades are posted less than three days prior to the event. The WAC requires athletes to have passed at least six units (normally, two classes) to participate.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said the conference's athletic directors will consider making the amendment permanent at the league's meetings, which begin today in Monterey, Calif.

"That's a good possibility," Benson said. "The six-credit rule is on our agenda, and we want to see how we can implement it in a consistent manner."

The rule became an issue when UH did not certify its athletes for the Hawaii Bowl last year. The game was played Dec. 25, two days after grades were posted.

But UH did not request a waiver from the rule as suggested by Benson, and the school ended up being reprimanded and fined $5,000.

"There is a proposal to change it and we'll revisit it," Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said. "I think our situation with the issue last season has prompted putting the issue on the table this weekend and hopefully get it resolved."

Spring break: With yesterday's scrimmage marking the end of spring practice, the UH football players are pretty much on their own until fall camp starts in early August.

Sophomore linebacker Ikaika Curnan said some live action with the other tentative first-stringers was fun -- especially since the defense dominated (as it usually does in the spring). But the real work starts now.

"That helped us get the butterflies out. Now this afternoon we can go look at the tape and start seeing what we need to work on. For me, pass drops and stuff like that, a little bit about reading the run," Curnan said. "From now, it's just train and train. That's the thing that will get you ahead of the game for the fall."

Kauka denied: Running back and special teams standout Jonathan Kauka's appeal for a sixth season of eligibility was turned down by the NCAA.

Kauka suffered a season-ending knee injury at Brigham Young in the second game of the season last year.

The former walk-on continued to be a team leader as he went through spring practice awaiting word of his eligibility.

"We're at the mercy of the NCAA and it didn't turn out our way," UH coach June Jones said. "It's too bad because Jonathan was probably one of the hardest working kids on the team."

Speed saves lives: Former East Carolina receiver Trey Johnson knows the importance of speed and quickness, even beyond the football field.

The former member of an Army Ranger battalion said those attributes saved his life in combat; they also enabled him to rescue a woman who was threatening to jump off the balcony of the 32nd floor of a building he lived in 10 years ago.

"I can't comment on the combat activities at this time," Johnson said. "But it is safe to say I wouldn't be here talking if I wasn't in good physical shape at that time."

Johnson, an Army major assigned to UH's ROTC program, assists Warriors strength and conditioning coach Mel deLaura. He also helps deLaura and defensive backs coach Rich Miano with the Hawaii Speed and Quickness Clinic.

This spring's sessions begin tomorrow and Sunday at UH's grass practice field. Sessions are from 10 a.m.-noon for ages 8-12 and from 2:30-4:30 p.m. for those 13 and older. Each session is $10. Additional clinics are on May 3 and 4, May 10 and 11.

For details, call 671-3812.

Short yardage: On the only long pass of the scrimmage, Mark Tate was open deep, but he strained his left hamstring and fell to the ground before he could catch up to Se'e Poumele's pass. ... Passing stats from the scrimmage: Jason Whieldon, 4-for-6 for 37 yards, one interception; Preston Maloney, 3-for-6, 31 yards and one interception; Kainoa Akina, 4-for-7, 48 yards; Poumele, 1-for-3, 6 yards. ... Ross Dickerson was the top receiver with three catches for 50 yards. ... Poumele was the leading ground-gainer with 31 yards on five carries.



Western Athletic Conference

UH Athletics
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