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Player, UH settle lawsuit

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The University of Hawaii has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with a former high school football recruit who sued the school claiming it reneged on a scholarship offer in 2008.

Daniel Smith of Boise, Idaho, alleged that the school did not fulfill its promise of a scholarship when it changed head coaches from June Jones to Greg McMackin in a case that took on national implications.

Smith’s Honolulu attorney, Mark Valencia, and UH-Manoa spokesman Gregg Takayama confirmed a settlement had been reached, but declined to discuss the terms.

Valencia said "my estimate is that the settlement will be reduced to writing sometime within the next two or three weeks. Those are the only details I can provide about the settlement."

In the suit, Smith, a defensive back, maintained that UH assistant coach Jeff Reinebold told him not to consider offers from other schools after making an oral commitment to UH in April 2007. Smith said he agreed because he said he thought UH would honor a commitment to him.

Reinebold accompanied Jones to Southern Methodist University in January 2008.

UH claimed Smith’s grades were not as they were purported to be.

At least one other school, Portland State, said Smith turned it down.

Smith filed his suit soon after national letter of intent day in February 2008.

Smith later attended PSU in 2008-09 but as a walk-on. He is now at Whittier (Calif.) College but not playing football due to an injury.

The case went to a settlement conference and mediation sessions but did not get to trial.

The case drew national attention because of the possibility of setting a precedent for future athletes with claims against schools that had recruited them.

Several other schools, including Davidson and Northwestern, have settled cases in which rescinding of scholarships was alleged.

 

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