Hawaii football: Star-Advertiser photographer’s alleged incident with Nick Rolovich goes national

Hawaii defensive back Zach Wilson (20) celebrated with head coach Nick Rolovich as Rolovich charged the photographer after San Diego State missed a game-tying kick with two seconds left on Saturday. / Photo by Jamm Aquino, Star-Advertiser

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported today on an incident that occurred toward the end of Hawaii’s Mountain West Conference West Division-title clinching victory over San Diego State.

A veteran Honolulu Star-Advertiser photographer, Jamm Aquino, alleges that he was assaulted by head coach Nick Rolovich and another UH athletics employee on the field in the final seconds of the game. After a missed field goal by the Aztecs, Aquino and other photographers ran onto the field along with the UH coaching staff and celebrating players.

Unlike past on-field celebrations documented by photographers in the waning seconds, the game did not end, and in the commotion to get back to the sidelines, the alleged incident occurred. UH went on to win 14-11.

According to Aquino in the Star-Advertiser story, Rolovich charged Aquino, swearing at him, and made contact. Another UH employee then shoved Aquino to the ground, he said, leaving him with a concussion, a bloody nose and split lower lip as he fell on his camera, and a sore shoulder. A camera lens also was damaged.

Star-Advertiser editor Frank Bridgewater and UH issued statements on the matter at the above link.

The story has since been picked up nationally.

The Star-Advertiser runs Hawaii Warrior World.


  1. Chicken Grease November 29, 2019 1:43 pm

    You know, there seemed to be footage where Rolo looked awfully angry at an individual—had to have been UH staff?—helping him remove his communication apparatus. I dunno if it was last season or earlier this season.

    Coach gotta know press gotta do press things. I myself can’t stand the press, as in the same as how President Trump can’t stand the press sometimes. And I laugh whenever some newspaper or news source has to close down. They just don’t do a fair job anymore.

    But as they are DOING their job, come on, Coach. No do stuff like this. Everyone knows you as a good guy.

  2. YoungWarriorsFan November 29, 2019 2:03 pm

    Wow….SA is no better the. The UH student section. Way to beat a program up when it’s just reaching its peak! It’s a privilege to be on that sideline protecting the rock. Aquino aka the vulture and the SA are a hyenas of the stadium!!! Move on…next story Tasi

  3. QBA November 29, 2019 2:12 pm

    Stay your distance or stay off the field! To much of you guys getting hurt or in the waY, look at the Alabama game, poor girl … Move! You have zoom lens use it… Now this is a distraction…SMH

  4. Naks8 November 29, 2019 2:18 pm

    To me it looks like the coach is telling people to get off the field before the team is assessed a penalty for sideline infraction. But I wasn’t there so who knows.

  5. Kev-1 November 29, 2019 3:17 pm

    How sad that this is becoming a story. The photographer wasnt assaulted. He was being grabbed to get off the field. Shame on the SA. An organization should better attain facts of a situation before publically painting someone as guilty of something like assault.

  6. Kev-1 November 29, 2019 3:20 pm

    It’s also interesting that although the photographer allegedly had a concussion, a busted lip and nose, and a broken camera, he was still waiting by Rocky Long to take pictures again, when Rolo allegedly accosted him again. Can you say exaggeration?

  7. downtownie November 29, 2019 4:09 pm

    Try watch the game again and slo mo. Lots of people, Rolo and coaching staff trying to get people off the field. Photographers obviously IGNORING orders, instead trying for be the BIGSHOT trying for capture the BIG shot. Still holding ground, trying to take more pics. Appears photographers and others jawing plenty. Who is that pushing with his arm? Happened too fast.

  8. YoungWarriorsFan November 29, 2019 4:12 pm

    Wait wait wait…..anyone notice the photographer of the photo?

  9. haka November 29, 2019 4:29 pm

    Need more info on what actually happened. I just can’t see Coach Rolo getting that upset for no reason. Big game with a lot on the line. Emotions running high. Should not have gotten physical, but if indeed, Aquino ignored orders to get off the field and shouldn’t have been on the field to begin with, then man up, heal up and move on.

    Stay focused Warriors!

  10. clyde November 29, 2019 6:17 pm

    There’s a video that shows Rolo and staff trying to the clear the field, of players and anyone else who wasn’t supposed to be there. It’s actually someone else whose push causes Aquino to stumble and do a face-plant on the turf. That person then goes to assist Aquino, who stands up and sort of skips off the field. Concussion? Hmmm. Another photographer also is pushed towards the sidelines, but he manages to maintain his balance and runs off the field without incident. There was nothing malicious and likely didn’t warrant the use of the word “assault” in the SA’s headline.

  11. Harvey November 29, 2019 6:43 pm

    Rule: Stay off the field until the game is over

  12. Paliku7427@gmail.com November 29, 2019 6:58 pm

    The “facts” from SA photographer seems sketchy. Seems like the photographer got angry and made false statements to punish UH staff and in particular Coach Rolo. Almost seems like the photographer wants a deal like $$$ to cover his mistake of ignoring the rules and put the game in jeopardy. To the SA photographer – you are supposed to be a professional, not a paparazzi. To the governor, UH Preident, UH Board of Regents, and / or UH Athletic Director (whomever gets involved) – do the right things: 1. Only base action on facts. 2. Support the Coach & Staff. 3. Make all non-UH folks on the field sign a liability waiver in the future. 4. Suspend SA photographer access till injuries are cleared in writing by a licensed MD. AND verified by UH AD or appropriate official. 5. Develop on-field protocol that folks must study and sign before being approved to “work the game” for any reason. 6. Get release of liability statement signed by SA photographer before any new work on field is allowed. Do not sully anyones reputation unless the facts are not disputed or allegation proven. Support the coaches and staff. The job must be hard enough already and then have to deal with this kind of thing. Shame on SA… : (

  13. Matt November 29, 2019 7:09 pm

    You know, there’s a cause and effect on this because, yes, there was only 2 seconds left in the game, as it still was not over, but that’s kind of on the photographers for almost having Rolo given a sideline warning penalty by the refs. But at the same token, Rolo should know better than to attack a staff member for our paper. I would HATE to see this go against the NCAA just because of Rolo was trying to prevent a frenzy while the game was still going on. It was only with 2 seconds left!!!

    But yeah, this kind of blemish on Rolo’s record could be a bad sign for our program. I just hope the NCAA doesn’t snub us off our MWC title because this would be some (Expletive). (Didn’t mean to put that out there, but it’s the truth)

    I just hope this doesn’t tarnish our program’s reputation in the longrun.

  14. haka November 29, 2019 7:13 pm

    Wow. Just saw the video. The SA should be ashamed of themselves and should be putting out an immediate apology to UH and Coach Rolovich. My gawd.

  15. H-Man November 29, 2019 7:49 pm

    I haven’t seen the video, but there seems to be a bit more that meets the eye. Apparently there was a least one other photographer along side Aquino; reportedly an Associated Press photographer. But coach Rolovich and the UH employee (unidentified) confronted Aquino. Then coach Rolovich again was upset a little later when Aquino attempted to take a photo of the two head coaches shaking hands. First incident I understand…heat of the moment, etc. But the second outburst suggests perhaps something personal.

  16. Aiea 7 November 29, 2019 7:52 pm

    believe that rolo was wrong to have assaulted the photographer. yes, he violated protocols but did not do it intentionally. he thought the game was over as with many other people including players and coaches on both sides. regardless there was no need for violence, a stern verbal confrontation would have been sufficient. no coach, let alone a head coach strike anyone right or wrong. this indeed would be a black mark against rolo and could affect his future coaching career with other teams, etc.

  17. haka November 29, 2019 8:12 pm

    Nobody assaulted or struck anybody. Maybe the guy thought it was Rolo and said something to him later and that’s why Rolo singled him out. We don’t know. We do know it wasn’t Rolo who pushed him. And the guy who did immediately tried to help him up. Violence? I think not.

  18. Juji November 29, 2019 8:35 pm

    Here’s a clip of the incident.
    **all credit to S-Honda on reddit

  19. Markazulu November 29, 2019 9:12 pm

    The game wasnt over yet so with that said all the media guys SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ON THE FIELD.

  20. clyde November 29, 2019 10:26 pm

    Aiea 7: Think you might have a slightly different opinion if/when you have a chance to see the video.

  21. Kawika November 29, 2019 11:09 pm

    Utah – BYU game in 2012 when Utah fans stormed the field thinking time had run out, but there was a second left which allowed a 51 cougar field goal try that was blocked, resulting in Ute fans storming the field and a unsportsmanlike penalty. This gave BYU and a second FG try 15 yards closer. Luckily, BYU’s FG hit the upright.

  22. kalua pig November 29, 2019 11:38 pm

    this is going to be hard to sweep under the rug.

  23. Kev-1 November 30, 2019 12:12 am

    # 18 juji … thank you for posting that video clip. What do you have to say now SA? How sad you gonna characterize that as an assault. Pilau.

  24. Xandersdad November 30, 2019 12:27 am

    22 kalua nothing to sweep under rug. Any reasonable person who watches the video will realize there is no malicious intent from Rolo or the other person. The SA should be embarrassed that they published a story without doing their due diligence. If I was an SA employee I would be upset and embarrassed to be associated with the organization.

  25. Scott November 30, 2019 12:28 am

    Sad they were on the field. Told to get off but stopped to take pictures which could have given UH a penalty. Next time stay off the field especially away from oncoming traffic. They had no business being on the field when time was on the clock. I think UH should hire new photographers.

  26. Xandersdad November 30, 2019 12:44 am

    Okay. I guess the SA is exercising their their own form of censorship. I made some comments they didn’t like so they conveniently deleted my post. Integrity is not one of their core values.

  27. LTJR November 30, 2019 2:48 am

    If this is going to create problems , then all photographers should be banned from the sidelines or given a section where they are allowed and not enter the field . If they choose to leave the designated confinement, then they are responsible for their own safety. Personal note : “IS THIS A WAY TO TRY AND SLANDER ANOTHER COACH AFTER A GOOD UH SEASON ? ” I believe that a similar situation has occurred in the past with another UH Staff. This is sickening… STAY OFF THE FIELD NEXT TIME !!!

  28. Aiea 7 November 30, 2019 7:18 am

    20 – don’t believe the photographer was mistaken who hit him. in the after story, it was reported that rolo called him up and apologized. why apologize if you did nothing wrong or did not strike the photographer? so there is no doubt that rolo struck him as both sides agreed that it did happen. when you try to restore order, you don’t go around and assault people.

  29. Lowtone123 November 30, 2019 7:25 am

    The world “assault” is pretty strong. Assault is a physical attack. There was no intent to inflict harm to Aquino. The facts are he is not allowed on the field of play, ever. He mentions that he has done so in the past without incident. This does not change the point that he is still in violation of the rule. This is the very reason the rule is in place, safety.

  30. clyde November 30, 2019 8:10 am

    25–I’m not saying Rolo didn’t touch the guy, I’m saying he didn’t “assault” him, an unfortunate choice of words the SA elected to use in its headline. The story makes it sound like Rolo singled out Aquino and went after him with malicious intent. It appears from the video that Rolo was just trying to clear the field of those who shouldn’t have been there, both players and at least four photographers. My guess is Rolo called to apologize to Aquino because he either was told that Aquino had fallen after he was pushed by another UH staffer or because he swore at Aquino a second time, at least according to the SA’s report. Bottom line, if Aquino had stayed on the sidelines there would be no story.

  31. Jeezy33 November 30, 2019 8:45 am

    Editors at SA a bunch of clowns for running with this stupid story and afraid to put their names on it. No charges pressed, no lawsuit = no story.

  32. HawaiiMongoose November 30, 2019 9:00 am

    Watch the video. The claim of an assault by Coach Rolovich is clearly bogus. And the guy who did push Aquino toward the sideline, causing Aquino to fall to the ground, ran back toward him after the fall in an apparent effort to help him regain his feet — which turned out to be unnecessary since Aquino jumped right back up and scambled off the field. I can understand the SA feeling it needs to support its employee, but rushing to publish this story without corroborating evidence was poor journalism and beneath the standard the SA should set for itself. The newspaper owes Coach Rolovich and the university an apology.

  33. H-Man November 30, 2019 9:05 am

    Watched the video clip (thanks 18 Juji). Although a little difficult to follow, it sure looked like the guy in black shoved Aquino, not Rolo. SA has it wrong.

  34. Brian McInnis November 30, 2019 9:39 am


    No censorship here. I had to manually approve your comments when I just saw them because the website flagged you are a first-time commenter, at least from that email address.

  35. Aaron November 30, 2019 12:45 pm

    SA misreported this and used the harshest, non-objective language possible in their initial reporting. What kind of crap is this? i am going to cancel my subscription. it isn’t like they’ve done a great job covering football this season, anyway. Cover 2 and other outlets have been doing a better job than them, anyway.

  36. YoungWarriorsFan November 30, 2019 5:41 pm

    Funny how the first three articles on the online subscription is all about the Warriors. Tasi, it’s time you create a blog outside the SA bias and report true facts about all UH athletics.

    I hope Rolo has ignored all of the “bad” press and is mentally ready additionally I hope has his troops are ready for battle tonight.

  37. Mick December 1, 2019 1:48 pm

    Can’t stand the heat .. then get out of the kitchen… at least till the game ends.

  38. Warrior December 5, 2019 9:24 pm

    Can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch

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