Nevada running back Vai Taua academically ineligible for Hawaii Bowl
University of Nevada
RENO, Nev. — Junior running back Vai Taua, the team's leading rusher, has been ruled academically ineligible for the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl, school officials announced today.
"I'm upset and disappointed that Vai didn't fulfill his obligations as a student-athlete," head coach Chris Ault said. "He has let his team down and I will evaluate his future with the program after the bowl game. Our focus now is on the upcoming game and our program is moving forward in that direction."
Taua, who is from Lompoc, Calif., fell short of NCAA requirements to participate in the postseason. He did not travel with the team, which arrived in Honolulu late Friday night. The Wolf Pack will play SMU on Dec. 24 3 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
"This is disappointing for all of us, including Vai," athletics director Cary Groth said. "Like all of our student-athletes, Vai was aware of his academic responsibilities. We are all hopeful that this will be a positive learning experience for him moving forward."
The Nevada football program has one of the highest Academic Progress Rates (APR) among Western Athletic Conference schools at 945, according to the most recent data available. As a whole - the past four years - the Nevada athletic department has been the only WAC school to have every sport above the NCAA-mandated 925 score on the APR.
"We are very proud of our strong academic tradition at the University of Nevada," said Dr. Jean Perry, the faculty athletics representative. "Our student-athlete graduation rates are at an all-time high and we expect continued progress in the future.
Neither Coach Ault nor anyone else associated with the Wolf Pack football program will have further comment.