Think About It: UH Booster Rocket - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

January 13, 2014

Think About It: UH Booster Rocket

State representative Mark Takai has smartly suggested and will be officially proposing that the legislature provide the University of Hawaii athletics program with a one-time $10-million boost to help the ailing department out of its current funk, provided UH gets 50% in matching public support. Some may think this is fiscal irresponsibility or simple insanity, but the concept has absolute merit. Like it or not, the performance of the UH athletics department has a major psychological impact on our state, let alone an economic ripple. We nickel and dime the athletics department, yet ask it to make do with one hand tied behind its back as it relates to revenue-generation from on-campus parking at sports events, Aloha Stadium costs, and merchandise sales up to this year.

We expect the athletics department to operate as a semi-autonomous, independent business, yet we fail to provide it many needed tools, including seed money. The UH athletics department is tied into the very fiber of the university and the Hawaii community, but when legislators don't like what's going on at UH, they punish parts of the billion dollar entity by withholding funds or not fully supporting branches, including athletics. We have known for years how mainland state schools that UH competes with, on the field and for student athletes, get better legislative support. Think it can't be done? Look at Boise State today and where it's come in 15-years.

To keep filling up, acting amazed at the annual fiscal hole and then lamenting the losses is pointless. Let's give UH a boost by matching funds raised by the athletics department itself, and give our coaches and student athletes a better chance to compete and succeed on many levels. This is not just about a struggling football team. Like it or not, it's about pride, achievement, and other intangibles so vital to so many here. Let's stop lagging behind with unrealistic expectations and let's stop wringing our hands. It's time for a boost for the ‘Bows! Think about it…


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