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Commissioner says Hawaii required to play

12/12/2003 - Hawaii Warriors

HONOLULU -- Hawaii coach June Jones can't pull his team out
of the Hawaii Bowl because the school is contractually obligated to
play in it, Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson
said.

"Unless there's an unfortunate act of nature, they will play,"
Benson said Thursday. "We're expecting them to manage the process
and to fulfill their obligations."

On Monday, Jones said he would pull his team from the Christmas
Day game unless administrators made sure that all players were
academically eligible. Jones later said he was confident he got his
message across and that the Warriors (8-5) would play in the bowl
game against Houston (7-5).

The Western Athletic Conference requires that student-athletes
pass a minimum of six-credit hours in the fall semester leading up
to a postseason competition.

Last year, university officials said they were unable to
officially certify that players had met the requirement because of
the short time between the posting of grades and the game.

After grades were submitted Dec. 28, 2002, starting quarterback
Timmy Chang was found to have been ineligible after he received an
incomplete in one course. The conference publicly reprimanded
Hawaii, suspended Chang for this year's season opener and fined the
school $5,000.

The university said grades will be posted Dec. 23.

A computer program has been created and already is being run
daily to report on the academic status of athletes. A backup
computer system is also running daily reports as a check on the
primary system, the university said.

"There is no question that we will be in compliance with the
six-credit rule," said Ron Cambra, associate dean for the Arts and
Sciences, the office responsible for academic advising for all
student athletes. "We have entered all athletes into the system
and created a list that were are monitoring regularly to make sure
there are no problems."