faces court date
The senior running back
has been suspended by UH
Suspended University of Hawaii running back West Keli'ikipi will be arraigned Thursday in Circuit Court for second-degree theft.
Keli'ikipi was named with six others in a grand jury indictment last week, stemming from allegations the group stole money from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan through computer fraud. Members of the group obtained credit amounts on their personal charge cards from a Kaiser account, prosecutors said at a hearing last week.
At his arraignment, Keli'ikipi is expected to enter a plea and a trial date might be set.
Keli'ikipi could face a five-year prison term if found guilty. The alleged theft happened in April and May of 2002, according to the indictment.
He was suspended from the UH football team, according to a statement released by the UH athletic department yesterday.
"We are aware of the situation and will follow the code of conduct as written in the UH Student-Athlete Handbook," Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said in the statement. "The violation falls under the category 'major misconduct' and mandates an immediate suspension from both practice and competition."
Keli'ikipi declined comment yesterday.
UH completed spring practice last Saturday with a scrimmage at Aloha Stadium. Keli'ikipi, who is recovering from knee surgery, had limited participation in spring camp. He was, however, expected to be a big part of the Warriors offense this fall.
Last season, his first at UH, Keli'ikipi played in 10 games before hurting his knee. He rushed for 247 yards and six touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.
Keli'ikipi said he did not know why his name would be on an indictment when contacted by the Star-Bulletin last Friday. Among the others named were his brother Winston K. Keli'ikipi and cousin Gordon K. Keli'ikipi.
West Keli'ikipi turned himself in to authorities on Friday, and was released on $1,000 bail, according to the statement from UH.
In other UH athletic department news, Frazier said yesterday was a slow day at the Western Athletic Conference athletic directors' annual meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"There's not really much to say. We just listened to reports today," he said. "We didn't do anything that relates to changes."
Changes will be very big. Tulsa, Rice, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso are leaving the conference after the coming year to join Conference USA, and the latest murmurs are of Louisiana Tech leaving for the Sun Belt.
New Mexico State and Utah State have agreed to join the WAC. Also, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafeyette and Idaho have been mentioned as potential new conference members. With recommendations from the ADs, invitations could be made later this month after the WAC presidents meet.
Star-Bulletin reporter Debra Barayuga contributed to this report.