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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

WAC to Jones: Hush

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

UH coach June Jones was reprimanded by the WAC for complaining about officiating earlier this season.

Advertiser library photo • Sept. 8, 2001

For more than a month, the Western Athletic Conference has placed a gag order on University of Hawai'i football coach June Jones, threatening him with a one-game suspension if he publicly criticizes the officiating again.

Jones confirmed the gag order during his weekly news conference yesterday when he was asked about two questionable calls in UH's 28-21 loss to Boise State Saturday night.

The WAC reprimanded Jones after he complained about the officiating in September games against Nevada and Rice, both losses.

Before the road game against Southern Methodist Oct. 6, Jones was warned not to make any comments about the officiating. After that game, Jones declined comment when reporters asked him about several questionable calls.

"The WAC has specific rules that prohibit coaches from making negative and critical comments about officiating," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "The WAC rules call for penalties if coaches violate the rules."

UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said he was notified about the gag order, which is supported by WAC bylaws.

"There are some protocols the conference wants us to follow," Yoshida said.

In the past, Jones has sent videotapes of questionable calls to the WAC office for review. The league cannot overturn calls, but conference officials have issued public apologies for incorrect decisions. The conference also can use the complaints as part of the postseason evaluations of its referees.

"If there are concerns, we need to be able to address them," Yoshida said. "That's what (Jones) is looking for. When you look at the whole issue, part of his responsibility is to share his concerns with the appropriate parties."

While Jones is prohibited from sharing his complaints with the media, he is free to voice his protests to the referees during the game.

"And I do," Jones said, smiling.

Former UH head coach Bob Wagner was placed under a similar gag order when he complained about the officiating.

Notes: Jones said outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who has a stress fracture in his right fibula, will not play the rest of the season. The injury was sustained during a non-contact drill Oct. 30. Jones said defensive end Travis Laboy's availability is "iffy" for Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio). Laboy has a sprained left ankle .