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Northwest Notes June 11, 2010

| June 11, 2010 9:00 PM

UI football team loses

six scholarships for 2010 season

MOSCOW - The University of Idaho football team's academic progress rate fell below the NCAA minimum for the most recent reporting cycle, which led to the Vandals losing six scholarships for the 2010 season.

Idaho's APR of 905 is below the NCAA standard of 925 (of a possible 1,000) and is the result of six student-athletes who both left the program during the 2008-09 year and who were not academically eligible at the time of their departure. An institution loses one scholarship for each student-athlete who is considered an 0-for-2 (left the team and was academically ineligible).

The Vandals' initial scholarships for the 2010 class were reduced by three to 22, while the maximum allowed for the team in 2010 is 79 of a possible 85.

"I'm not concerned about those who don't have the character or commitment to stay with the program," Idaho coach Robb Akey said. "I'm concerned about the ones who do stay. They need to earn their degrees. That's why they came to the University of Idaho."

Akey pointed to the graduation rate of the last two classes which includes 15 of 18 in the 2008-09 class and 11 of 12 in the 2009-10 class - a group which includes two players earning master's degrees and three more earning three degrees in their five years at Idaho. One junior also earned his undergraduate degree this spring and will be pursuing a master's in the fall.

"We'll continue to work on our APR but the bottom line is graduation," Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said, noting Idaho graduates 92 percent of its student-athletes who complete their eligibility.

"I feel we are doing a good job of taking care of the young men who come to Idaho to get their degrees and play football," Akey said. "The fact of the matter is we are graduating players at a rate higher than the general student body.

"As much as I hate to lose any scholarships, we cannot let a rule I struggle with hold us hostage and keep us from running a strong program. Our APR will continue to improve. I believe we are doing a good job of managing it."

Shock add backup quarterback

to replace ailing Meyer

SPOKANE - The Spokane Shock signed quarterback Brian Zbydniewski and defensive back Mervin Brookins.

In addition, defensive back Ruschard Dodd-Masters has been placed on re-assignment and fullback Clay Harrell has been activated from the injured reserve list.

Zbydniewski (pronounced ZEB-EH-NEW-SKI) spent last season with the Quad City Steamwheelers where he completed 41 touchdown passes and threw for 1,914 yards in nine games. He was signed to replace Erik Meyer, who will miss Saturday's game at Orlando due to illness.

Brookins started the season with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, where he played in four games and registered 12 tackles. In 2009, Brookins played for the af2's Stockton Lightning. In only six games with Stockton, he recorded seven interceptions, seven pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and 25.5 tackles.

Although the lineup for this weekend's game has not been released, Zbydniewski, Brookins and Harrell will be eligible to play.

EWU turf 'groundbreaking'

set for Saturday

CHENEY - Before they can "Play it on the Red," the old grass surface has to go.

The official start of Eastern Washington University's Red Turf project will take place with a "turfbreaking" ceremony on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Woodward Field on the EWU campus.

On hand will be former Eagle and current Tennessee Titans star Michael Roos, who along with his wife Katherine Roos kick-started the project with a $500,000 pledge. They will join several EWU administrators and others for the ceremonial uncovering of sod. The public is invited to attend, and information regarding contractors, project timelines, a 24-hour web cam and other details will be announced at that time.

The red artificial field will be the first of its kind, not just in NCAA Division I football, but in the entire country. The initial announcement was made on Jan. 26, and on May 20, Eastern announced approval by the EWU Board of Trustees to re-name Woodward Field to "Roos Field" upon project completion.

Built in 1967, the stadium has had a grass field since its inception. Eastern will be the sixth of nine schools in the Big Sky Conference to convert to artificial turf. The turf installation will also benefit EWU and the environment through a savings of approximately 300,000 gallons of water per year.

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