Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 27, 2003

UH 'embarrassed' by fight

 •  Hawai'i Bowl will always have a spot for Warriors
 •  FERD LEWIS: Jones must put foot down on fighting
 •  No re-telecast of Hawai'i Bowl

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

UH co-captain and wide receiver Jeremiah Cockheran said the Warriors did not initiate the fight that broke out with Houston after the Hawai'i Bowl.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Jeremiah Cockheran, a University of Hawai'i co-captain and wide receiver, yesterday apologized for his football team's role in an on-field fight at the end of Thursday's nationally televised Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl against Houston at Aloha Stadium.

"We're embarrassed by it," Cockheran said. "We're known nationally about it, and that's not what our team is like. We have a lot of character. I'm sorry about what happened."

The fight received prominent mention in game stories published in newspapers across the country. The Hawai'i Bowl, shown in prime time on the East Coast, was the only Division I-A football game on Christmas Day.

The fight "took away some of the joy from a great game," Cockheran said. "It went three overtimes. There were a lot of great plays. All (people will) remember is the fight. That kind of sucks."

But Cockheran insisted the Warriors did not initiate the fight.

"We're not going to start a fight after we won a game," he said. "We're all happy. To react (the way we did), something would have had to happen."

Houston wide receiver Vince Marshall said it was not clear how the fight started.

Although several Houston players were pelted with trash thrown from the stands, there were no arrests.

During the postgame news conference, UH coach June Jones blamed the on-field officials from the Mountain West Conference, saying, "In my opinion, it is the referees (who) let the game get out of control by not taking control of some of the taunting and some of the things that were going on."

Line judge Marc Ratner yesterday said there were fewer verbal exchanges between the teams than for a usual college football game.

Hawai'i athletic director Herman Frazier will review videotapes of the fight to determine if any of his players violated the Western Athletic Conference's code of sportsmanship. UH is a member of the WAC.

According to the code, a player found to have committed physical abuse — defined as "striking or attempting to strike or otherwise physically abusing" a coach, spectator or student-athlete — can receive a public reprimand and a suspension ranging from one game to an entire season.

A player who incites others to commit a violent act faces suspension ranging from two games to an entire season, according to the code.

Making an obscene gesture or using "unduly provocative language" can result in a public reprimand.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said "proper action will be taken either by the institution or in conjunction with the league." Benson said the WAC only has jurisdiction over member schools. Houston players face disciplinary action from Conference USA officials.

"We are going to take our time and review all the angles and video we have access to," Frazier said in news release. "There is no real timeline and we will leave no stone left unturned."

Frazier declined repeated requests for an interview yesterday.

Hawai'i Bowl executive director Jim Donovan said police and security workers were helpful in preventing spectators from going onto the field. He said blame for the fight rests with each participant.

"If every player were to do what they were supposed to do, the fight would not have happened," Donovan said. "I'm not going to point fingers at anybody. You have as much responsibility to back away if somebody is starting a fight."

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

• • •

No re-telecast of Hawai'i Bowl

The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl game between Hawai'i and Houston is not scheduled for re-telecast by ESPN, according to Lonnie Shupp, director of programming at Oceanic Time-Warner.

"I will look into to trying to get the rights for a local re-telecast," Shupp said. "I'll know more next week."

Hawai'i won, 54-48, in a triple overtime game that was marred by a brawl between teams after the game.

- Advertiser Staff