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Sunday, June 6, 2004



[ WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]


Keli’ikipi trying
to get back with
Warriors

The UH running back is looking
into whether a deferred plea
can result in reinstatement


The attorney for West Keli'ikipi said he is trying to get the running back reinstated to the University of Hawaii football team through a deferred plea.

Keli'ikipi pled not guilty at a May 7 circuit court arraignment for second-degree felony theft. He is one of seven defendants accused of defrauding Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. of $162,000 through a computer and credit card scam in 2002. If found guilty, Keli'ikipi could face five years in prison.

Keli'ikipi, who has one season of football eligibility remaining, was suspended indefinitely in May, as UH athletic director Herman Frazier determined the allegation a major violation of the UH Student-Athlete Handbook.

Attorney Michael Green said he has been meeting with UH athletic department officials to see if a deferred plea might get Keli'ikipi back on the team.

"I'm trying to get him reinstated before the football season," Green said. "We don't have time for a trial. If we go to trial he'll probably end up not playing his senior year."

Green said Keli'ikipi accepted money he considered a loan from one of the other defendants, but did not know where it came from.

Frazier acknowledged Green is trying to work something out, but would not go into details.

"The only thing I can say is Michael's office has been in touch with our attorneys," Frazier said.

Warriors coach June Jones declined comment.

"I'm not going to worry about it until I get a chance to discuss it with Herman," he said.

Keli'ikipi's trial is set for July 6. The proceedings could go on for months, especially since there are so many defendants involved.

Deferred pleas are granted if the judge is confident the defendant will not commit another crime and has a clean prior record. If the defendant stays out of trouble for a certain amount of time, the plea is stricken from his or her record.

"It looks like a deferral, with no admission of guilt, might be appropriate in this case," Green said.

Keli'ikipi played in 10 games last year before hurting his knee. He rushed for 247 yards and six touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.

In other UH football news:

» Former Warriors Jason Whieldon (quarterback), Clifton Herbert (slotback), Shayne Kajioka (guard), Keani Alapa (linebacker), Houston Ala (defensive lineman) and Gary Wright (defensive back) are slated to play in the New Era Bowl, an all-star game in Osaka, Japan, on July 10. They will augment one team of Japanese players, and players and coaches from Cal will be on the other team.

The game is played each year, with some American coaches and players from different schools.

"It's a great opportunity," said UH quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison. He and defensive line coach Vantz Singletary will serve as offensive and defensive coordinators for the team with the Hawaii players.

» Linebacker Anipati Mailo has decided to transfer due to his "limited role," he said.

Mailo, a 1999 Kahuku High School graduate, was a member of Jones' first recruiting class. He played on special teams that fall, and then went on a two-year religious mission to Guatemala.

He redshirted upon his return in 2002. Mailo played special teams last year before he was sidelined by a knee injury.

Mailo is a middle linebacker. That's the same position former outside linebacker Ikaika Curnan, UH's leading tackler, made a successful shift to during spring practice. Both are juniors in eligibility.

Mailo wants to transfer to a team where he has a better chance of playing time.

"I'm looking at several different schools," Mailo said.

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