Satele denied medical hardship
BY Stephen Tsai
Minutes after completing what would be his last workout as a University of Hawai'i football player, middle linebacker Brashton Satele yesterday received the shocking news.
"My mom called," Satele said, "and she said: 'Are you ready for the NFL?' "
The NCAA yesterday rejected Satele's appeal for a medical hardship that would have allowed him to play as a sixth-year senior in 2010.
"Im shocked," Satele said. "I thought I was coming back (to UH) for sure. I thought it was a sure thing."
Indeed, the UH coaches were so confident that they set aside a new scholarship to count Satele toward the 2010 recruiting class. Satele earned a bachelor's degree in December, and was taking on-line classes this semester to remain academically eligible.
In sixth-year cases, the NCAA usually requires an applicant to prove that he missed two football seasons because of medical reasons. Satele did not play as a fifth-year senior in 2009 because of a shoulder injury that required preseason surgery. He argued that he redshirted in 2005, as a true freshman, because of an arm injury.
Satele provided affidavits about the 2005 injury.
But in its ruling, the NCAA determined that Satele did not have enough "contemporaneous documentation" — notes written in 2005 by doctors and physical therapists. The affidavits, it was found, were post-dated and not actually written in 2005, according to the ruling sent to Lee Ann Satele, Brashton's mother.
She said documents were not collected in 2005 because "nobody saw it would put us in this situation" several years later.
"We're all bummed," she added. "We gave it our best shot. But they wanted more information."
UH interim compliance officer Amanda Paterson said she was "disappointed" in the outcome, adding, "I thought we put on a strong case." But she acknowledged the lack of contemporaneous documentation hurt the case.
"It's not the end he wanted, but at least now he has an answer," Paterson said.
Satele and offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli, who is still awaiting a ruling on his appeal, were frustrated at the delay. Satele began working on his appeal in September, and he turned in preliminary papers in December.
Satele was racing the clock. The National Football League's three-day draft starts Thursday. Beginning Saturday night, NFL teams may make free-agent offers to qualified players.
Satele, who performed well at this month's Pro Day in Carson, Calif., has received several inquiries from the Oakland Raiders the past two weeks.
While Satele was a starting linebacker for only one season, in 2008, he was a key member of special teams for three years.
"All I'm looking forward to is a chance," Satele said. "I'll go through walls for anybody."
Paterson, who was hired as interim compliance offer in 2008, said there now is an emphasis on players collecting documentation of their injuries and rehabilitation programs. Each player is reminded of that during orientation sessions.
"The awareness is better," Paterson said, "although it doesn't do much for Brashton."
Satele said: "I thank everyone who helped me — the doctors, (athletic director) Jim (Donovan), Amanda, my coaches. I thank everyone for praying for me, especially my parents, who were always there when times got hard. I'll always be a Warrior. I thank all of the fans for their support."