Coaches high on a five-year plan |

Coaches high on a five-year plan

Appeal Sports Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Coaches in the Western Athletic Conference say they are in favor of having a five-year eligibility rule for college football.

The idea has been bandied about for many years, and when you think about it, it makes perfect sense, accoding to WAC coaches. For many student-athletes, it take five or more years to graduate. The five-year plan would wipe out redshirt years.

At Nevada a fifth-year student-athlete with no eligibility left has to put in a certain amount of hours in the athletic department to get their fifth-year of education paid for, and it doesn’t count against the 85 scholarship limit.

Chris Ault, Nevada head coach, said he talked about that as far back as 1986.

“Gene Bleymaier (Boise State) and I brought it to the SEC,” Ault said during WAC Media Day at the Hilton Hotel. “It makes a lot of sense economically for the school, and football benefits.”

San Jose State coach Dick Tomey and New Mexico State’s Hal Mumme agreed.

“I’m part of the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association),” Tomey said. “They have been in support of that for a long time. From a financial standpoint it makes sense.

“The only stumbling block would be is it just for football or does it include all sports. On average, it takes five years to graduate. Guys that are going to the NFL are going to go. It’s a good thing for all of us.”

Most other sports don’t redshirt nearly as much as football does.

Mumme said that with schools only having 85 players on scholarship that it certainly make sense.

“I’m absolutely for it,” Mumme said. “Faculty reps have an idea that four years is what college should be all about. Five years is a lot more realistic. We’re already paying for school (for five years), why not let them play.”

Robb Akey, Idaho’s first-year head coach, said having five years might help a student-athlete from an educational point of view.

“I think it would be an awesome deal,” Akey said. “It would help us with students. It would help with retention. It would be great for kids to come back a fifth year. If you play as freshmen (and go straight through) and don’t go to the NFL, a lot of guys don’t stay and get their degrees.

“It would help develop younger players. The freshman in now except for the linemen I would play them all. Right now, I play my starting linebackers on special teams. I’d like to get them experience and take my seniors off the special teams.”


Of the nine WAC schools, Louisiana Tech and Fresno State seem to have played the most BCS schols in recent years, though Nevada is starting to show a much stronger schedule than in past years.

Tech has played, in some years, three BCS schools, all on the road. That was done purely for financial reasons, but it gave the Bulldogs zero chance to reach the post-season.

“It’s evolving to what I want it to be,” NMSU’s Mumme said. “I want to play one BCS team a year. You get a good dollar and national attention. The next couple of years we play Nebraska and Oklahoma State.”

Mumme said the school will receive $800,000 or $900,000 for those games.

“I’d rather play one for that amount than three for that amount which is what they had been doing,” he said. “We’re also trying to have seven home games all the time.”

Akey has his own ideas on scheduling.

“Ultimately, we want to play one BCS school, one team we’re supposed to beat and the other two games come from the Mountain West, Conference USA or the MAC,” said the Idaho coach. “Three (BCS games) is too much. It doesn’t help a team get ready for conference.”


Tomey said he will continue to hold morning practices this season. The Spartans and Hawai’i are the only teams that follow that practice.

“It was rough at first,” SJSU quarterback Adam Tafralis. “I think it works better. You go to class and then come back after class and they have film ready for us to watch.

“I’m acclimated to it (now). If we didn’t have it you could sleep in and make it rough to get to class on time in the morning.”


Idaho players found out quickly that Akey meant business.

Akey removed 17 players from the program since he was hired in December for breaking team policies.

Akey said he set down some rules, and that some of the players apparently ignored them or didn’t take them seriously.

“We got the distractions out of the way,” Akey said.


Boise State tailback Ian Johnson is getting married to Chrissy Popadics on Saturday in Boise.

In case you don’t remember, Johnson proposed to Popadics in the end zone after scoring the winning two-point conversion in the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma last January.

However, because of racial threats via mail and phone calls, Johnson said he has hired security for the event, according to a report in the Idaho Statesman Journal.

“It’s unfortunate that it involves a certain protocol being followed to ensure that nothing happens,” Johnson told the Statesman Journal. “It’s really sad because a lot of people that are probably doing it are the same people who were cheering me on.”

Also, the NCAA said that the couple can’t receive free services or discounted items. The Boise State coaches can give gifts only if they give gifts to other BSU players who get married.


Fresno State linebacker Quaadir Brown, a projected starter, will have his arraignment on July 30.

Brown is being charged with vandalism and trespassing. According to a story in the Fresno Bee, Brown broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment on June 28 and then damaged her car to the tune of $2,000.

Brown has been suspended for the Bulldogs’ season-opener against Sacramento State.