Dave Reardon Press Box

Dave Reardon

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Chancellors meet and
discuss academic reform

THE athletic directors and presidents or chancellors of the nine schools comprising the Western Athletic Conference beginning next year all met together for the first time at the end of last month, in Salt Lake City.

"It was a great brainstorming session," Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said, as the league, along with the rest of the NCAA, must brace for upcoming academic reform.

Frazier didn't reveal much else, other than the fact that no one was asked to make a loyalty pledge to the WAC this time. The UH AD bristles at the very idea, even more than the thought of a Friday afternoon home football game.

"That type of thing, in my estimation, doesn't work. You think BC and Virginia Tech didn't have a pledge with the Big East and turn right around and leave anyway? I just think you've got to be grown men and women and say if you're going to stay, or not if you're not," Frazier said.

If the muffled mumbles emanating from WAC meetings last year were true, signing the league's pledge of allegiance and then bagging would cost the deserting school a cool 5 mil.

That's why the key players didn't sign, and that's why it didn't work.

» Louisiana Tech: When Jack Bicknell and his Bulldogs were at Honolulu Airport late Saturday after their loss to Hawaii, Bicknell saw something that made him forget about the game and remember Jason Black.

"There were about 12 soldiers on our plane headed for Iraq," Bicknell said. "Them saying good-bye to their families made me think of Jason, and it snapped me out of any depression about losing."

Black was walking on as a wide receiver at LaTech last spring. Now, as far as Bicknell knows, the U.S. Marine is walking point in Fallujah.

"I haven't had direct contact with him in a while," Bicknell said. "But I've been told he's there and getting to the middle of it."

» Boise State: The Broncos have a 9 a.m. televised game at San Jose State.

"We'll start (getting ready) about 3 in the morning. We're just not going to go to sleep," quipped Broncos coach Dan Hawkins.

Hawkins said he and his assistants will actually wake up the players around 5 a.m.

It won't be much of an adjustment for Hawkins himself. He said he usually gets up at 4:30 or 5 a.m.

"Like any human being, you hear that alarm clock and you don't want to get up. But once you do you're all right," said Spartans coach Fitz Hill, another early riser.

» Tulsa: Ashlan Davis continues to amaze, returning his fourth kickoff for a touchdown in four games. He broke the NCAA record for TD returns on kickoffs in a single season.

Golden Hurricane coach Steve Kragthorpe said Davis has all those attributes you always associate with great return guys -- quickness, speed, vision and elusiveness -- and one more that is often overlooked.

"The biggest thing is he's tough. You've got to have a guy whose willing to sink into the wedge and let the guys block for him. There's 11 guys, if you count the kicker, wanting to separate your head from your shoulders," Kragthorpe said.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Dave Reardon is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter who covers University of Hawaii football and other topics. His column appears periodically. E-mail him at dreardon@starbulletin.com



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