HONOLULU -- Western Athletic Conference defensive player of
the year Travis LaBoy won't play in the Hawaii Bowl, Hawaii coach
June Jones said Monday.
Jones said he hasn't heard from or seen the senior defensive
end, voted by the team as its most valuable player, since Saturday.
The Warriors (8-5) play Houston (7-5) on Thursday.
"I haven't seen him, so he won't play," Jones said after
LaBoy told The Honolulu Advertiser on Monday that he will be
academically ineligible to play. The WAC requires that
student-athletes pass at least six credit hours in a semester
leading up to a postseason contest.
LaBoy, of San Rafael, Calif., had 76 tackles and led the WAC in
quarterback sacks (13) and tackles for loss (22). He also
intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles for Hawaii (8-5).
"I'm disappointed he let his teammates down, that's too bad,"
Jones said. "I feel like when these things happen, the next guy
will step up and be a star."
As a scholarship player, LaBoy was required to be enrolled in a
minimum of 12 credits this semester.
"It's a big loss to our team. He's a great player," Hawaii
wide receiver Chad Owens said. "We're just going to try to do our
best without him."
Owens said LaBoy was probably more focused on his aspirations to
play in the NFL rather than his school work.
"I guess he's real confident in his ability that he's going to
make it to the next level, which he is because he's a great
athlete," Owens said. "I hate to say this, but he just really
wanted to focus just on football so he ensured that dream of his."
Jones downplayed the loss of LaBoy.
"It doesn't affect us at all," he said. "We've got some very
good defensive ends that are going to prove they can play too.
Although Travis is one of those guys that had an unbelievable year,
the next going guy will have an unreal game."
Houston coach Art Briles said he won't make any adjustments.
"Does it change what we're going to do? No sir," Briles said.
"Is he a very good football player? Yes, he is. But this is a team
sport. It's not golf. It's not tennis."
Warriors defensive line coach Vantz Singletary said sophomore
Mel Purcell, who has 33 tackles and 3½ sacks this season, will
start. Others also will see some action.
"There's four other guys that's lined up in that right
defensive end position that certainly exemplified a lot of what
Travis LaBoy has displayed on game day," Singletary said. "So
I'll take that group of men by committee and build me a new