WAC set to nix
grade-update rule

WAC presidents must now
vote on whether to eliminate
the rule that cost Hawaii $5,000

Western Athletic Conference schools won't have to supply updated grades of athletes for postseason eligibility anymore, if a recommendation from the league's athletic directors is approved by the schools' presidents.

The WAC council, comprised of the conference's athletic directors and other athletic department officials, voted to delete the rule last weekend at the WAC meetings in Monterey, Calif.

"The council has recommended to the board that the six-credit rule that affects postseason competition be rescinded," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "Basically the recommendation is to eliminate the rule."

Hawaii was at the center of the issue last year. UH officials said they did not have enough time to certify that Warriors football players passed at least six credits of classes in the fall semester, which ended Dec. 20, to make them eligible for the Dec. 25 ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl.

UH was later reprimanded and fined $5,000 for not abiding by the rule.

Some WAC schools faced a similar quandary this spring, as their semesters end close to the start of NCAA regional tournament events. But the league made an emergency amendment to the rule two weeks ago that allowed grades from the previous semester be used if new grades aren't available within three days of the event.

UH athletic director Herman Frazier was unavailable for comment yesterday.

"I can't elaborate on the vote, but it's an issue that's been discussed many times since back in December," Benson said. "The council agrees the intent of the rule is sound and was based on good rationale, but believes the rule to be very difficult to manage and apply in a consistent manner."

The school presidents will vote on the proposal to eliminate the rule at their meetings June 1-4.

In other conference news, the WAC is talking with SportsWest Productions about a possible TV contract to supplement the league's national agreement with ESPN with regional and local coverage.

The core of SportsWest's coverage is Mountain West football and men's basketball, according to the company's Web site.

Any agreement with SportsWest would not interfere with the extensive local package offered by KFVE-TV (Channel 5), Benson said.

"We think it would supplement the local packages, but not conflict with or threaten local broadcasts," Benson said.

Jones deal near?: UH football coach June Jones said he doubts he will have to start the final season of his five-year contract on Aug. 30 without a new contract in place.

"I don't keep up with it very much, but I know the contract talks are progressing," Jones said. "I'm confident it will be resolved by the start of the season."

Jones' contract, which he and agent Leigh Steinberg have tried to renegotiate since late 2001, earns him a total of close to $400,000 per year.

As for hiring a new defensive coordinator, Jones said that will be accomplished "probably by the first of July."

Since the departure of Kevin Lempa in February, Jones has run the defense with the help of defensive position coaches Vantz Singletary (line), George Lumpkin (linebackers) and Rich Miano (defensive backs).

Not having an official coordinator did not seem to hurt the defense in spring practice.

"We have good chemistry doing it by committee," Singletary said. "Whatever is called, we can execute, and that's the bottom line. June has a lot of confidence in us."

Lumpkin and Miano are considered candidates for the title of defensive coordinator.

Speculation continues that Hawaiian Islanders head coach and Saint Louis School athletic director Cal Lee will join the Warriors in some capacity after the Islanders' season ends in July. Lee said last week he could be happy being a defensive position coach, but that he also enjoys his current roles.

UH Athletics


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