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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 7, 2002

UH football team banned from riding mopeds

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Citing injury risks, University of Hawai'i football coach June Jones has banned his players from riding mopeds during the season.

"They're too dangerous," Jones said of the motorized scooters used by many of the Warriors. "I wouldn't do this unless there was a problem. In the last few years, we've had a lot of moped accidents."

Mark Tate, a junior wide receiver, suffered a knee injury from a recent moped spill. Tate, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage Friday, is expected to miss the start of the 2002 season.

"It's a shame," said Ron Lee, who coaches the UH wide receivers. "We've had more injuries on mopeds than on the field."

Lee said Tate had improved during spring practice and was expected to challenge for playing time at left wide receiver. Tate also is used on kickoff returns.

Last year, quarterback Nick Rolovich, defensive tackles Brett Clowers and Lui Fuga, and defensive end Travis Laboy were injured in moped accidents. Safety Nate Jackson suffered a gash from a motorcycle spill.

In 1991, then-UH coach Bob Wagner assigned one of his full-time assistant coaches to moonlight as the "moped coach."

Several years ago, NBA standout Shaquille O'Neal suffered a leg injury while riding a rented moped in Waikiki.

Jones said he understands how players, many on limited budgets, regard mopeds as an affordable transportation option.

But Jones said mopeds became "a problem, and we needed to address the problem. We had to do something."

Middle linebacker Chris Brown said the "ban will be a hardship."

"We're tired after (morning) practice, and sometimes we're running late to class," Brown added. "The mopeds save a lot of time. We don't like the ban, but we understand why we need to have it. The whole thing is about safety."

When asked how players would get around, Jones said, "They'll have to do what we did in the old days — walk."