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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 28, 2008

Prep football player suing UH, ex-coach

By Sudhin Thanawala
Associated Press

A high school football player is suing the University of Hawai'i for allegedly revoking his scholarship offer after coach June Jones' resignation.

Daniel Smith, 17, of Boise, Idaho, also names UH's former defensive line coach, Jeff Reinebold, in the suit.

He says Reinebold told him not to speak to any other school when he offered the full scholarship last April, an offer that Smith says was reaffirmed over the next several months.

Smith, a defensive back, said he gave up a scholarship from Portland State and declined offers to visit other schools before Reinebold told him in January that all scholarship commitments prior to Jones' resignation had been revoked.

"I was devastated," Smith said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I committed to Hawai'i more than 10 months ago, and I stuck with that commitment."

Smith said after receiving the news from Reinebold in January, he sought scholarships at roughly 40 schools, but none was available.

Reinebold left UH for Southern Methodist University in February after helping the Warriors go 12-0 in the regular season. At SMU, he will work alongside Jones, the school's new head coach, as wide receivers coach.

Reinebold did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

The lawsuit "is being handled by the necessary parties," making it inappropriate to comment, said John McNamara, associate athletics director at UH.

According to Smith's lawsuit, the university has denied that Smith received a scholarship commitment. Hawai'i assistant coach Ron Lee, who is taking over as offensive coordinator, told Smith's mother, Wanda, that Reinebold did not have the authority to make scholarship commitments, according to the suit.

Smith said Lee has offered him the chance to try out for the team, but he wants his scholarship.

"I kept my end of the deal," he said. "I want the university to keep its end of the deal."