Think About It: Choices and Funding - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

December 21, 2015

Think About It: Choices and Funding

In a candid interview recently, Hawaii Governor Ige stated that it's really up to the University of Hawai`i to determine the future of its athletic department and how to fund its needs to compete effectively in the landscape that is college athletics today. Ige talked about setting financial priorities in government and how the university does have the flexibility to decide how best to utilize its annual pool of funds. Keep in mind that 90% of Division I public schools lose money in athletics- that's more than 200 schools nationwide.

The governor then got a bit condescending when he suggested that he'd be happy to take over the chore of going line by line on the UH budget to figure things out himself. We'll let that shot pass and leave it to the folks at UH to do their fiscal jobs. But then the governor mentioned that the Cancer Center also needs $5-million, and he asked "Is the Cancer Center… more important to this community than athletics?" Really, so he's suggesting that it comes down to this? Two mutually exclusive entities with needs, and the governor suggests that our choices are really simple- we either save lives with further cancer research or field more competitive college football and basketball teams?

That's not really the issue. The real question is- why can't UH athletics count on as much state and student fee support as we see elsewhere to have its programs funded at par with schools against whom it competes in the Big West and Mountain West? This is not a situation of pitting funds for a dreaded disease against softball uniforms. Priorities, we get it. But please, don't trivialize the athletic department's plight by making it look like it's us vs. them, one or the other. By the way, there are some issues at the Cancer Center, too. Think about it…

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