UH’s idle Sample can’t sit still
The Warriors receiver continues to wait for word on another year of NCAA eligibility
Hawaii football coach June Jones has deemed senior wide receiver Ian Sample irreplaceable -- at least for fall camp.
If Sample's appeal to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility isn't resolved by next week, Jones will start practice for the 2006 season on Friday with 104 players instead of the maximum allowable 105.
"We won't bring anyone in instead of him," Jones said. "And I know that if we bring (Sample) in two weeks into practice, he'll still be in great shape. It's not really an issue. He knows what to do and he'll be ready to play."
Jones said he still thinks the appeal will be resolved before camp starts, anyway.
If his appeal is successful, Sample will compete with Ross Dickerson for the starting spot at right wide receiver. If it isn't, he'll have more time to study for his final two classes toward his bachelor's degree in English.
"I'll have a long semester to figure out what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm in great shape, so I'll be the most in-shape non-athlete."
But Sample prefers to continue with a positive outlook -- even though it's been several months since the original appeal was filed, and even though his scholarship has been revoked to make room for an incoming full-time student/football player.
"I don't care," he said. "I just want to get on the field."
UH received positive answers on similar petitions for safety Leonard Peters and running back Nate Ilaoa.
"I still have high hopes, because I choose to have high hopes, and I've been told it looks good. It's been a long process," Sample said. "(UH assistant athletic director for eligibility and compliance) Bill Bryant said it looks good when I talked to him last week. There's no point in stressing out over it. It's out of my hands."
The NCAA requested more information about a family situation in 2003 that forced Sample to withdraw from school to help with family matters when his mother, Debi, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"A lot of it was taking care of things she normally would have done, but couldn't because she was getting treatment," Sample said. "It's hard to describe MS and how if affects someone's life. She's had to learn to live with it."
Sample transferred to UH in 2003, and he was hampered by injuries in 2004 and 2005, playing a total of seven games. He has 19 career catches for 243 yards and a touchdown. His appeal is also based on him playing in just three games last year before a season-ending knee injury.
The Warriors' receiving situation is crowded with plenty of talented veterans. Still, Jones mentioned Sample as a key player from whom he expects big things.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound son of former big league baseball player Billy Sample has inspired teammates, too.
"He's always out there running, always lifting. Every time I see him he's covered with sweat," long snapper Jake Ingram said. "He's probably doing a lot more than other guys who know they're going to get to play. We need him because we need leaders by example and hard workers like him."
Maneafaiga will manage: Initial paperwork for a sixth-year appeal was also filed last spring for running back Bryan Maneafaiga, but UH will not continue to pursue it. Maneafaiga has agreed to become a team manager, Jones said.
After he transferred to Hawaii, injuries limited Maneafaiga to a total of three games in 2004 and 2005, with 16 rushes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Funaki back: Quarterback Inoke Funaki has finally returned from Tonga with his father, quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said.
Their departure was delayed because air travel was suspended when Prince Tu'ipelehake and Princess Kaimana of Tonga were killed in a San Francisco car accident earlier this month.
Funaki goes into camp as the third-string quarterback behind Colt Brennan and Tyler Graunke.