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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Two of 107 Warriors academically ineligible

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

All but two of the 107 University of Hawai'i football players on the postseason roster have met the academic requirement to participate in tomorrow's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl against Houston, school officials announced in a news release.

The Western Athletic Conference, of which UH is a member, requires its football players to earn six credits — the equivalent of passing two classes — during the semester preceding a bowl game. Because the NCAA has jurisdiction over bowl games, using a player who does not comply with a WAC rule could result in the NCAA imposing sanctions ranging from fines to suspensions.

Citing "privacy issues," UH athletic director Herman Frazier, in the news release, declined to identify the two players who were academically ineligible. But defensive end Travis LaBoy, the WAC's Defensive Player of the Year, told The Advertiser Monday he failed to meet the six-credit rule.

Last year, UH quarterback Tim Chang was declared ineligible three days after the Hawai'i Bowl, resulting in a one-game suspension this season. This year, UH officials were able to learn of most of the final grades before the end of the fall semester last Friday. They also conducted follow-up interviews with professors who had not submitted their final grades.

• Looking ahead: While most of the Warrior seniors have clear ideas about their future, three are in limbo.

Defensive tackle Lance Samuseva, wide receiver Jeremiah Cockheran and safety Hyrum Peters are good college players who may or may not be good enough to play professionally. For the three, there is a possibility tomorrow's bowl game will be their last game of organized football.

"I think about that a lot now," Cockheran said. "That's why I'm going to go all out. I talked to my brother, and he told me, 'Go all out and leave it all on the field because when you look back on this game, you want to say you gave it your all.' That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to enjoy every moment. Every time I'm out there I'm going to smile. I don't smile often, but you'll see me smile."

Cockheran is on the waiting list for a berth in the Hula Bowl all-star game on Maui.

"Hopefully, that will turn out good," he said.

If an opportunity in pro football does not materialize, Peters will pursue a master's degree in social work. He is scheduled to earn a bachelor's in May.

"I really thought about it, and I want to help a lot of people who are in trouble," said Peters, who also is on the Hula Bowl waiting list.

Samuseva said he has tried not to think about his career coming to an end.

"All I'm thinking about is Houston," he said. "I want to go out there and do what I do every game and hopefully I can open somebody's eyes (in pro football). We'll see how it goes."

Samuseva said he is awaiting a decision on whether he will be invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco.

If there is no invitation, he said, "then it was a great journey. I'm still going to graduate in June. I'm excited about that, too, just as much as if I were going to the next level. I'm going to take it one day at a time."

• D-line, online: Warrior defensive line coach Vantz Singletary has started a Web site — vantzsingletary.com — as a coaching tool.

• Island ties: Houston defensive coordinator Ron Harris is the cousin of former Hawai'i center Brian Smith.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8051.