Chang violated an academic policy
HONOLULU -- Starting quarterback Timmy Chang will sit out Hawaii's season opener for violating an academic policy when he played in the inaugural Hawaii Bowl last Christmas Day, associate athletic director Tom Sadler announced Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the NCAA reinstated Chang on the condition that he sit out the Aug. 30 game against Appalachian State at Aloha Stadium, Sadler said.
In March, the Western Athletic Conference publicly reprimanded Hawaii and fined the school $5,000 for failing to certify its players had completed the conference-required six credits during the fall term of 2002 prior to the bowl game.
The six-credit rule was adopted by the WAC in June 2002 and requires student athletes to pass a minimum of six credit hours in the semester that concludes immediately prior to the date of a postseason competition.
After grades were submitted Dec. 28, Chang was found ineligible to play and Hawaii officials immediately reported the infraction to the WAC office, Sadler said.
"This is an unfortunate situation for Timmy and our football program,'' Sadler said.
"As a member institution, we are obligated to comply with the WAC and NCAA rules, but it was clearly impossible for us to do so for purely technical reasons,'' he said. "We have since been working with all parties involved to rectify the situation and prevent this from happening in the future.''
Coach June Jones was philosophical about losing Chang for the opener.
"Sometimes life is fair and sometimes it's not,'' Jones said. "This is not fair, but we will deal with it, play without him for the first game and move on.''
Chang led the Warriors to a 10-4 record last season. He threw for 4,474 yards, second-best in the nation, and 25 touchdowns.
He will take his first snap of the 2003 season Sept. 13 when Hawaii plays at Southern California.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press