Three UH sports penalized
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Because of the combination of transfers and poor academic performances from past players, one player on the current University of Hawai'i men's basketball roster will have to give up his scholarship for the 2008-09 season.
The outcome is a result of NCAA penalties stemming from the Academic Progress Rate.
The men's basketball team was one of three programs at UH penalized by the NCAA yesterday for failing to meet the APR standards.
The men's basketball team was docked two scholarships, reducing its total from 13 to 11 for the 2008-09 season. The Rainbow Warriors currently have 12 players on scholarship.
"We'll have to ask one player to sacrifice and pay his own schooling for one year," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "But we are planning on keeping everybody on the roster."
The UH football team was penalized one scholarship, and the baseball team was penalized 0.48 of a scholarship.
The 16 other athletic programs at UH received passing grades by the NCAA, including perfect scores of 1,000 during the 2006-07 academic year for women's basketball, women's volleyball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field.
"I can't say I'm happy about three of these scores — the rest are acceptable or above average," Hawai'i athletic director Jim Donovan said. "With that said, we have new coaches, who are working hard to change these scores, we have an academic staff that's working hard to change theses scores, and a faculty athletic representative who's working closely with our coaches and academic staff to develop processes and build a culture to raise these scores. From my perspective having been here for only 40 days, I'm satisfied that we're putting in a culture and we have a support system that should improve these APR scores."
The APR is a formula that awards points for each semester a student-athlete remains at a school and in good academic standing. Teams lose points when student-athletes transfer or leave the school without graduating.
The APR score for UH men's basketball is 889 for the academic years 2003 through 2007.
Last year, the UH men's basketball team had a score of 913. The team's score took a significant drop after the 2006-07 season because three players transferred and three seniors left school without graduating.
"Any time there's a transition in coaching staff, there's going to be movement by some players," Nash said. "It cost us (APR) points, but we can't blame anybody for that."
The 2007-08 season was Nash's first as head coach of the men's basketball program.
"One of the first things we did as a staff when I came on board was to address the academic issue," Nash said. "We think we have put some things in place to correct the status in future years."
He noted that all his players are now required to attend summer school. He also noted that two seniors from the 2007-08 team have already graduated, and the other five seniors are on target to graduate within a year.
"We definitely feel like we're moving in the right direction," Nash said. "And if all those guys take care of their business in the classroom, we should get those scholarships back."
Nash also said that Ahmet Gueye, a senior from the 2006-07 team, is expected to return to classes at UH in August. He left school last year to play professional basketball in Europe.
"Hopefully, we can get some (APR) points back for that," Nash said.
The 889 score for men's basketball was the lowest among the UH programs. But among the nine men's basketball teams in the Western Athletic Conference, UH ranked fourth.
The men's basketball programs at San Jose State (886), Idaho (880), Louisiana Tech (880), New Mexico State (835) and Fresno State (816) all scored lower than UH, and also received NCAA penalties.
Fresno State and New Mexico State could lose scholarships and have their practice times reduced in 2008-09 because both teams have scored below 900 for two consecutive years.
Seven of the nine schools in the WAC had programs penalized by the NCAA. Nevada and Utah State were the only WAC schools with all its teams scoring 925 or better.
San Jose State saw six of its programs penalized, and its football team could lose as many as nine scholarships.
The UH football team improved its APR score from 902 last year to 921 this year, but was still docked one scholarship because it fell below the NCAA standard of 925.
The Warriors — under first-year head coach Greg McMackin — can award 84 scholarships for the 2008 season. No current players will be asked to surrender a scholarship.
The UH baseball team had a score of 901 this year after scoring 904 last year. Baseball teams are allowed to spread 11.7 scholarships throughout the team, so UH will get to use 11.22 scholarships for the 2009 season.
The top program at UH is women's volleyball, which posted an APR score of 982 for 2003 through 2007.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at email@example.com.