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Sports

Recruits schooled in summer

How fast is University of Hawaii football recruit Allen Sampson?

So fast that – two weeks after participating in Plant High’s graduation ceremony in Florida – the slotback is enrolled at UH and on track to earning six credits before the Aug. 4 start of the Warriors’ training camp.

Allen Sampson:
Warrior slotback is on
pace to earn six credits
under newly created
summer session that
will run until the start
of training camp

Sampson and nine other football freshmen are beneficiaries of a newly created UH summer session that runs from this week to the start of the Warriors’ training camp.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan said the players can get acclimated to college, bond with teammates during the offseason conditioning program, and earn credits. The athletic department and Na Koa, the football booster club, are paying for the players’ tuition, room and board.

"We have class every day," Sampson said, adding the players also are required to attend daily study hall.

"It’s a good transition," defensive back John Hardy-Tuliau said. "This program is going to help us out."

Since becoming UH head coach in January 2008, Greg McMackin encouraged his players to attend one of the school’s two summer sessions. The NCAA allows member schools to pay for up to two summer courses per scholarship player each year.

But UH’s two six-week summer sessions present scheduling conflicts.

The first session begins in late May, when many high schools still are conducting classes. That session ends a month before the start of training camp, forcing mainland players to either go back home or pay their own living expenses during the four-week break. Scholarship players only receive room and board during the session they are attending classes.

The second summer session, meanwhile, has a two-week overlap with training camp.

"It was hard for players to attend classes, and go through two long practices, film sessions and meetings every day," McMackin said.

The solution was to create a mid-session, which would run up until the start of training camp. The Nagatani Academic Center and the School of Arts and Sciences agreed to coordinate the session.

This summer, the session offers only two courses – Speech 151 and Life Skills. Both are certified three-credit courses.

McMackin described the mid-session as a "bridge between high school and college.

"It helps them adjust to college, McMackin said. "They get to work out and earn six credits."

Only players who gained admission as UH full-time students are eligible to enroll in the mid-session classes.

Because enrollment triggers their football scholarships, they are required to undergo physical examinations and attend NCAA orientation meetings. After that, they are allowed to participate in the offseason conditioning program.

"I can’t wait to get out there," said Sampson, who watched the Warriors’ unsupervised 7-on-7 drills Monday. "I’m ready to play football."

The past two years, Na Koa paid for the summer-session scholarships. Because of a cut in funding – the Pigskin Pigout, which generated $100,000 annually, will not be held this year – the UH athletic department agreed to subsidize the summer scholarships.

"This is important," McMackin said. "That’s why we have mandatory study hall.

"If you want to compete on the field, you have to compete in the classroom. This is a good thing."

 

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