There are a couple of things we already know about Hawaii football. They haven’t been good in a while, and the attendance for football games continues to wane. That being said, we didn’t think they were in danger of being shut down, until now.
University of Hawaii Athletic Director Ben Jay has asked University of Hawaii officials to help lobby the state for $3 million to help keep the financially-challenged athletic program competitive, or even help keep it going for that matter. If extra funds are not received a reduction in University of Hawaii sports is possible.
While Hawaii football isn’t on the very top of the list of possible sports to be shut down it is very close. It costs the most to run and right now is probably the biggest money loser. With attendance way down and interest in the program waning because they haven’t been good in some time, these extra funds would go a long way to getting the program back on its feet.
Ben Jay did acknowledge that football was indeed in danger, but also followed those remarks with some other caution.
“There is a very real possibility of football going away,” Jay said under questioning by members of the Board of Regents Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.
But, he cautioned, “but even if football goes away, all the revenues that football drives goes away and then it becomes a costlier venture for the university.”
“I think, in my mind, it has to come from the state. In part, I’m asking this board, President (David Lassner) and the UH-Manoa leadership to support and ask the legislature for direct for direct funding support for the athletic program,” Jay said.
Ben Jay stated that UH has just completed its fiscal year figures and that there was a $2.1 million deficit. He also and projects at least a $1.5 million deficit for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2015. None of this is good news for University of Hawaii football, or sports in general.
The current UH fiscal model is “broken,” according to Jay, and something drastic needs to be done.
According to Jay, University of Hawaii Athletics has run a deficit for 11 of the past 13 years. That means that even at its height with Colt Brennan and June Jones football only helped the athletic department get into the black two times.
“Not been a matter of spending, it has really been a matter of not achieving enough revenue to support ourselves, ” Jay said. “What we have now is a bare bones operating budget that is limping along and has hurt our competitiveness and our ability to recruit and people want us to win. It raises, I think the entire state, by what we do. And, I think we are worthy of the investment.”
One thing that would really help… having a football stadium to play in that is closer to campus and that belongs to UH. We will see what happens.