Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hawaii's Jones Defends Haka

Hawaii coach June Jones accused the Western Athletic Conference of "micro-management" by creating a philosophy that "targets" the way the Warriors prepare for games.

Before Hawaii's game Saturday night against Louisiana Tech, the Warriors were assessed a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for performing a pregame haka, a Maori war chant the Warriors began doing last year before games, writes Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Advertiser.

There are rules against unsportsmanlike conduct, but none specifically mentions the haka. But the WAC received a complaint (now thought to be from Louisiana Tech) and encouraged teams not to perform the haka during road games.

"The rule hasn't changed since last year, and we were allowed to do it," Jones said. "For someone to micro-manage outside the NCAA rules, that's not right."

Honolulu Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis writes that the Warriors should continue doing the haka and figure out a way not to get penalized:

"For as much as the haka has become a part of UH football, a unifying symbol for players and a fan favorite in the year that the Warriors have been performing it, it isn't something that you'd want to see cost them a game, a championship or a shot at a perfect season."

Hawaii won, 45-44, in overtime, and afterward Hawaii slotback Davone Bess said Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley cursed at him when he ran into the Bulldogs' sideline after making a catch.

"I was really surprised, especially for a head coach, somebody with his caliber, to pretty much disrespect me, you know," Bess said. "All I said back was: 'Don't disrespect me. You're a head coach. You don't have to be like that.' "

And according to the Ruston Daily Leader, the Louisiana Tech band "went into a quick rendition of Hawaii’s traditional 'haka dance' prior to the game." (last item).

Update: A reader has sent in this photo of Hawaii performing the haka at last year's game at Alabama. Note the player on the left giving Crimson Tide fans the finger.


gerry dorsey said...

wow that sucks. i for one love the haka. i don't see that its taunting anyone or overly unsportsmanlike. i see a lot worse every week.

Jimer said...

Very Remember the Titans-esque.

Jefe said...

The haka is cool, too cool to be shamelessly used as a recruiting tool by Jones at Hawaii and Mendenhall at BYU-Provo and whoever else needs Polynesian players to succeed. Let it stay among the Maori.

Statueleft said...

If you think the Haka is cool check this