SBD/August 24, 2011/Colleges

Univ. Of Hawaii Eyeing Regular-Season Football Game In Japan

Hawaii could play in first NCAA football game played in Japan in over 20 years

Univ. of Hawaii AD Jim Donovan said that he is “seeking a realistic chance for the school’s football team to play a regular-season opening game in Japan,” according to Kaz Nagatsuka of the JAPAN TIMES. Donovan, while in Japan with the school's men's basketball team, said, “We’ve started trying to see what the cost would be and if it is financially and logistically possible. Positively, it looks like it is logistically possible. We have to focus on the finances.” UH “has actively sought to strengthen its ties with Japan through sports over the last few years.” It would be the "first time that an NCAA regular-season football game has been played in the country in more than two decades." An NCAA game “was played annually in Tokyo between 1977 and 1993.” The Kyocera Dome, home of the Nippon Professional Baseball Orix Buffaloes “would be the leading candidate to host" a possible football game. Donovan said, “We need to line up some corporate sponsors of both Hawaii and the U.S. ... and possibly Japan.” He added that he and the university “are looking at the 2014 season, because their schedule for 2013 has already been completed while there is one game left to fill for 2012 and 2014.” Next year would “probably be ‘too much of a rush’ to prepare.” The '12 season will be the UH football team's first in the Mountain West Conference, and Donovan said that the school "would first talk to a school from inside the conference." But "depending on how negotiations go, it may bring other schools outside the conference to the table, for instance, the Pac-12" (JAPAN TIMES, 8/23).

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