Think About It: UH- Huh? - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

August 24, 2017

Think About It: UH- Huh?

As the fall sports seasongets underway, hope runs high at the University of Hawaii with wahine soccer,wahine volleyball and football getting ready to start. We need to support theseprograms and these kids as they represent our state and our state school. At thesame time, I am reminded of the ridiculous now annual call for the UH athleticsdepartment to reach a financial break-even point. Is this logical and wellthought out? Does 14 of the last 15 years of losing about $2.5-million a yearmean anything? Unless the current UH fiscal athletics department playing fieldis changed, making money simply won't happen. The UH athletics program isunderfunded by the school, legislature, tourism industry, and by student bodyfees when compared to every single peer school it competes against. That'sright- every single school we compete with gets more subsidies.

Unlike others, UH pays aguarantee travel cost for most visiting teams and has its own burdensome travelcosts. Over 80% of the 125 top tier college sports programs lose moneyannually. UH does not get credit for the $1-million it provides annually inparking at its events- that money goes to Auxiliary Services. The Rainbowtiquedeal was a joke until recently. UH athletics are showcased with over 150 hoursin prime time annually via statewide TV, more coverage of more sports than anyother school in America; and some games are shown regionally or nationally.What great promotional opportunities! What's all that worth? Millions.

It is mystifying whyseemingly informed upper campus and legislative decision-makers drag out the"run yourself like a business" mantra every few years without changing thelandscape. Does the biology or English program make money? Give athletics thehelp it needs and has earned, or back off on the unrealistic demands forsolvency any time soon. Athletics can be as much a part of a student's holisticdevelopment as any classroom activity. 15 of the last 20 U.S. presidents playedsports in college. Ask them if it helped as much as any class. Let's get smartand real. Go ‘Bows! Think about it…

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