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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:39 p.m., Friday, May 26, 2006

UH's Ilaoa gets sixth year from NCAA

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The NCAA has awarded a medical exemption to Nate Ilaoa, allowing the University of Hawai'i starting running back to play as a sixth-year senior during the 2006 football season.

"This is great news," UH coach June Jone said. "If he stays healthy, he has a chance to do some great things."

Under NCAA rules, each Division I-A football player is permitted five years to play four seasons. Exemptions are granted for players who serve in the military, go on church missions or endure an extraordinary personal or medical hardship.

Ilaoa based his appeal on the shoulder and knee injuries that limited him to one game during the 2003 and 2004 seaons.

Last year, his fifth at UH, he gained a team-high 643 rushing yards, and led Western Athletic Conference running backs with a per-carry average of 7.6 yards.