Tiller against UH trip
The Purdue coach calls game against Hawaii 'valueless'
Purdue is scheduled to arrive today for a football game Saturday against No. 25 Hawaii. But Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller said yesterday the trip is "valueless" in his opinion and being made against his wishes.
Tiller, speaking at his weekly news conference, said he twice told Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke to cancel the game.
Purdue at Hawaii
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Saturday, 6:05 p.m. (Stadium gates open at 3 p.m.)
TV: Live (and rebroadcast at 10:30 p.m.) on pay-per-view (Dig. 255). Call 625-8100 on Oahu or (808) 643-2337 statewide. Delayed free on Sunday, 10 a.m. on KFVE (Ch. 5).
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Parking: $5. Lot gates open at 2:30 p.m. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Shuttles are from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and approximately 1 hour after game ends. Parking also at Radford High School ($3, no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
"I told him to call them up and tell them, 'We're not coming. We're just not coming; go find another opponent.' The reason I say that is there is no guarantee from a financial point of view. It is a valueless game for Purdue University," Tiller said. "They provide you with X number of round-trip tickets, X number of rooms and X number of money for meals. You come back from this trip and you don't have any financial consideration that maybe would help your football program."
Tiller also said he does not want to schedule future games against Hawaii, either here or at Purdue, in West Lafayette, Ind. He also cited the distance of the trip, especially as the last game of a 13-game season in which there was no bye.
Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier issued the following statement after hearing of Tiller's comments:
"I am somewhat baffled by the comments made by the coach at Purdue University, because all of our contract negotiations, the
present and future, have taken place with administrators. On that note, we look forward to hosting the Boilermakers at Aloha Stadium Saturday night. It should be an exciting game for everyone."
Those negotiations included using a non-Western Athletic Conference officiating crew. Saturday's officials are from the Pac-10.
Tiller said Northwestern coach Randy Walker and Michigan State coach John L. Smith told other Big Ten coaches to avoid playing at Hawaii because of their experiences with officiating in losses here in 2004.
"Randy and John L. talked about it to all the other coaches and their advice to every coach in that room was 'Do not go there and play,'" Tiller said. "Michigan State's game was unbelievable. They had two touchdowns called back. They would have won the game going away. And they needed that game to become bowl eligible."
Michigan State is trying to pull out of a game at Hawaii next year, a situation that Frazier said is delaying his ability to complete and announce UH's 2007 schedule.
"Quite frankly, I think Hawaii is having a difficult time scheduling games because of their arrangements," Tiller said.
Tiller advocates using officiating crews from the visiting school's conference in nonconference games.
He coached at Wyoming from 1991 through 1996. Wyoming played Hawaii six times during that stretch, including two games at Aloha Stadium that the teams split. He was asked if the officiating was fair at those games.
"No," Tiller answered. "I know that the WAC, at the time, used to assign local officials. It got so bad that the WAC decided that they weren't going to do that anymore."
The Purdue-Hawaii game was originally contracted in 1994 and pushed back from 2002, said Tiller, who came to Purdue in 1997.
Boilermakers defensive end Anthony Spencer said the Purdue players are excited about the game against Hawaii (9-2, 7-1 WAC).
"As a player and a team, you want to win as many games as possible. We want to win 10, it's our (senior class') first opportunity to do that," Spencer said. "To win 10 we have to win nine first, and this is nine. We're looking forward to it. As a defense, you want to go against the best in the nation. That's why you play Division I football."
Purdue (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) yesterday accepted an invitation to play in the Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla., against a yet-to-be-named ACC opponent.
Purdue players Eugene Bright and Derek Benson did not make the trip because they were arrested at a party over the weekend, the school said.
Police used a stun gun to control the 21-year-old Bright, who is accused of fighting with an officer trying to arrest people at an underage drinking party hours after last week's win over Indiana.
Bright, a junior defensive end, was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting law enforcement, Lt. Gary Sparger of the West Lafayette Police Department said yesterday. Bright hit the officer in the arm and chest, Sparger said.
Benson, 21, is a redshirt freshman who lived at the home where the party was held early Sunday. He was charged with suspicion of furnishing alcohol to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, disorderly conduct and maintaining a common nuisance, a police report read.
Tiller and the school are investigating. Tiller and sports information director Tom Schott said yesterday that further punishment may be forthcoming.
Sophomore tight end Jerry Wasikowski, who also lived at the home, was cited for violating the noise ordinance. Four others were also cited for minor consumption.
Both Bright and Benson were released from the Tippecanoe County Jail on Sunday after posting bond.
UH slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins suffered from a tight groin yesterday after practice, but said he does not expect to miss Saturday's game.
Despite missing four games with a sprained ankle, Grice-Mullins has caught 31 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns this season. The sophomore leads the Warriors' regulars with 19.3 yards per catch.