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UH’s Tulimasealii dismissed from football team

  • COURTESY HONOLULU POLICE DEPT.

    Defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii is expected to be dismissed from the University of Hawaii football team for violating the athletic department’s code ofconduct.

Defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii has been dismissed from the University of Hawaii football team for violating the athletic department’s code of conduct, the school announced today.

UH athletic director David Matlin said in statement, “Defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii has been dismissed from the University of Hawaii football team for violating the UH student-athlete conduct code.”

The code states that “any student-athlete convicted of or pleading guilty or no contest to a felony charge shall be permanently dismissed from the team.”

In regards to his scholarship, the code states “the grant-in-aid shall not be renewed for any successive academic years.” An appeal process is available.

“We hope that Kennedy will continue his college education and work toward receiving his degree. He will always be a part of the Rainbow Warrior ʻohana and we hope that his recent troubles do not define his life,” Matlin said.

Two weeks ago, Tulimasealii pleaded no contest to six criminal charges, including a felony accusation for property damage.

Tulimasealii is seeking a deferral, which would give him an opportunity to have the charges expunged if he remains out of trouble for a specified period of time. A Circuit Court judge will rule on the deferral request on an Aug. 24 sentencing hearing.

Tulimasealii has been on suspension from team activities following his arrest in April.

The former Waianae High star is considered the Warriors best defensive lineman, leading the team in tackles for losses last season.

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    • Great? Hardly. But the UH did the right thing as high standards are important. No one has the right to play for the UH. Gotta earn it. I hope this player stays and gets an education and makes something of himself. He has an opportunity to turn things around.

        • Waianae is not really part of the story. UH has to have high standards to play. He knew that. He broke the rules and the evidence against him was overwhelming. Even his high-priced elate attorney could not change the evidence which was overwhelming. He needs anger management among many other things.

  • Are you serious? What kind of advice did he get from his attorney to plead “no contest” if he should have known it would lead to automatic dismissal? Not saying that the acts were not serious, but what was the point, in hopes he could appeal and then gsin reinstatement, pretty long odds!

    • It is a sad day when someone gets chastised for taking responsibility for his own actions. Your comment just goes to show how far this country has gone down the road of political correctness, and putting my own interests, feelings, self-gradification, etc, etc, etc before others. This young man made a mistake, and yes a very bad one. I can assure you, he knew full well what the consequences for pleading he way he did, were going to be, and yet he still did the right thing. In my opinion, doing what he did may be the single most important decision he has made in his life up to this point, and I applaud him. If he is as good at football as he has led us all to believe, then he will be given another shot somewhere else. Hopefully he will have learned an extremely important lesson, and will be a better person for it.

      • Yep more important to think about the man versus the football player. The dude has to take care of his issues to prepare him for his life going forward. The no contest plea will makse sense if he gets the deferral

      • You think it was responsible of him for pleading the way he did?
        OK, whatever. It’s like pleading guilty but without having the sack to actually say it. The dude was getting canned either way.

      • There’s more to life than playing football for UH. If he pleads not guilty, and is found guilty by the courts, it will be a permanent record that will follow him for life. On the other hand, by pleading no contest and asking for a deferred sentence, the offense would be removed from his record if he stay out of trouble for the specified amount of time agreed by the court.

    • “What kind of advice did he get from his attorney to plead “no contest” if he should have known it would lead to automatic dismissal?”

      Pretty sure common sense says that the prosecutors showed Tuli’s lawyer something called “evidence” that proves Tuli committed his crimes. Either the kid takes a plea bargain for a slap on the wrist (with no felony record), or he can lose at trial and get sent to prison (plus a felony record for life). Not exactly a tough choice, and a pretty good deal if the only big loss is a football career that might not have gone anywhere anyway.

    • Depends on how the code of conduct is to be interpreted to deferred pleas. If the deferral is accepted and the record is expunged, then there will no longer be any plea on the record. If the Code is supposed to be applied to Deferred pleas, then UH took the right action. If it isn’t supposed to apply to deferred pleas or is ambiguous, then UH may be in trouble. But his Attorney should’ve taken this into consideration and explained that.

      • The code specifically says that it is independent of the criminal code. Thus, if you are found to have violated the code but no criminal charges were brought, UH can still impose its own penalty including dismissal. It also says, UH may await completion of criminal process, or not wait and proceed with its own consequences.

  • Its too bad that such a talented young man had to go down this road but hopefully this sends a message to any other athlete present or future that this type of conduct will not be allowed no matter how good you are or how valuable you are to any team! Think twice before you act out of emotion!

  • Hard lesson to learn but your behavior off the field is just as important as your play on the field. It is a lesson a lot of athletes nowadays do not seem to have learned
    witness the bad behavior by other athletes both college and professional. Character is a very important trait to have but sadly it seems lacking in a lot of folks these days.

  • matlin did the right thing – he followed the rules. however, hope he can find a place maybe at another college and play football so he can at least try to follow his dreams of playing professional football.

  • Just saw that story about how the Warriors were sent to some kind of military training camp. Not a bad way to get the message across: Stay humble, work hard and stay OUT of trouble.

  • I’m glad Matlin and Rolovich stood firm on this decision despite losing their best defensive player. To Kennedy, I hope the lesson is learned and you can go forward and develop personally into a good individual and someone the community can be proud of. Not too many second chances in life. Use this to better yourself. Good luck!

  • Serves him right! Such Talent ! POHO! Hope he wises-up and don’t turn out to be another….. “Johnny Football” Johnny Manziel. Maybe there’s a chance in The Canadian Football league? Bradah’s still young. IMUA

  • Sometimes things got to hit rock bottom before things can get better. Hope KT can turns thing around and have a positive future. This is far greater than being a outstanding football player, it’s about being an outstanding person most of all.

  • NOT ON MY WATCH!
    A strong message sent to Warrior World on behalf of our slightly new AD and Head Coach! Hopefully the message sent will be learned! Time to move forward for all parties! Go Warriors!

    • I can’t believe all the comments on DM & Rolo decisions. I guess they can do no wrong. Yes, KT is at fault but did the compliance officer and Rolo explain the important of adhering to the student code of conduct? DM said that the administration did not support the compliance dept so they hired more staff to help coaches and players. Somebody must have been sleeping.

      • Really? The importance of following the code of conduct needs to be explained? “Code of Conduct.” Nuff said. This is not a compliance issue. These are standards that ALL athletes are held to. And Mr. Matlin never said that administration doesn’t support the compliance department. They hired more people to support the coaches and athletes in compliance issues, not legal ones. Like I said, “Code of Conduct.” Nuff said. No explanation needed.

  • So, by doing some quick research, it looks like Hawaii Statutes define first degree property damage (felony) as

    (1) intentionally or knowingly damaging someone else’s property without their consent where the damage is valued at more than $20,000,

    second degree property damage (felony) as

    (2) intentionally or knowingly damaging someone else’s property without their consent and the value of damage is greater than $1,500,

    In Tulimasealii’s case, the felony is second degree property damage and results in permanent dismissal since the code of conduct states that “any student-athlete convicted of or pleading guilty or no contest to a felony charge shall be permanently dismissed from the team.”

    Not sure, but wasn’t the property damages a little over $3,000? So the real issue and question we should be asking is, how do you fairly interpret and apply the code of conduct to his case?

    If he was willing to make reparations and committed himself to dealing with his personal issues, “stayed out of trouble”, how do you justify the disparity, unfairness, and the negative impact upon this young man’s potentially bright future that results by strictly applying the word “felony”, as in this case, as it applies to second degree property damage?

    Should we wait until the “next time” to revisit this interpretation in the code of conduct? Ask most anyone, and they would have no idea what the Hawaii Statutes say regarding second degree property damage.

    But one thing is for certain. The law must be applied fairly and judiciously. So then must the code of conduct apply its rules fairly and judiciously. So, give him a chance to make rightful reparations to the owner of the property damaged. Give him a chance to change his life for the better. Give him the chance to commit to a better future.

    It all comes down to common sense.

    • The word “consent” seems to imply that circumstances that resulted in the act or acts which constitutes knowingly, intentionally, must be given the most weight in deciding how the law should be fairly and judiciously applied.

      Also, let’s face it, the politics of this case are inseparable, but that should not make a literal reading of the code of conduct a safe haven to retreat to, especially when a persons life and future is at issue over 3,000 in property damage.

      What happened to the that persons property is inexcusable and there is no debate about that, let alone the possible emotional toll it has taken on everyone. And to that end, only Kennedy can make those things right. In that regard, it really is all up to him, and no one else.

  • If this thing blows over a bit there is no doubt a few teams on the west coast, like any of the Pac 12 that would love to have him. He may actually benefit from this.

  • Consequences are good. Over the past few years, we’ve all watched Kennedy as a Warrior, and we’ve seen him lose it — often enough to be noticeable — resulting in costly penalties. In these moments, he was out of control. The sad truth is, the previous coaching staff overlooked these signs, these red-flag opportunities to coach, to teach. Apparently, Coach Rolo and AD Matlin have their eyes on the ball and understand the critical importance of self-control in any athlete. The bottom line for self-control is mind over matter, and this is also the bottom line for great athletes and winning teams. If Kennedy can learn to control his emotions from this bump in his life, then this lesson is invaluable. He will grow from it and become a better man. Imua Kennedy. You may not hear us, but we’re here, thousands of us, cheering you on.

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