SBD/August 20, 2014/Colleges

As Questions Swirl About Program's Future, Hawaii Football Tickets At Seven-Year Low

Season-ticket sales for Univ. of Hawaii football "are running 2,000 below last year, and are at a seven year-low," according to Matt Tuohy of the PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS. UH AD Ben Jay said that 16,055 full season-tickets and 148 mini-packs that include four football games and six volleyball games "had been sold as of Monday." Tuohy noted last year's sales "totaled out at 18,391 season ticket and 646 mini-packs." Season-ticket sales "end next week, but don't account for student season ticket sales, which start on Aug. 25" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/19).

BAD TIMING FOR A THREAT: Jay's comments from Monday that the UH football program could be cut if the athletic department's finances do not improve continue to be discussed, with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Dave Reardon saying Jay "probably should have had that conversation in a private session" with the school's Board of Regents. However, he was "kind of under orders from superiors on campus to bring this situation to the Regents." Regardless, this is "bad timing for the start of the season. When it gets out there in such a viral matter on a platform like Twitter, which a lot of young people and potential recruits use, they’re not seeing the whole story. They’re just seeing that the Athletic Director of the Univ. of Hawaii saying football might not exist” ("Hawaii News Now," KGMB-CBS, 8/19). In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis writes despite Jay's claim, the team "isn't going anywhere in the immediate future." Lewis: "That this even has to be explained is ridiculous, but that's what happens when an athletic director says the wrong thing and it goes viral via social media." It could be argued Jay "might have done his job of shaking things up," because when someone says something people "don't want to hear, you have to make sure you are clear." However, it is "yet another bizarre episode in recent UH athletics history, most of them stemming from financial woes -- real and perceived" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 8/20). Meanwhile, ESPN's Michael Wilbon said Jay's comments are "foreshadowing to some extent, because it means the mid-majors ... are not necessarily going to have the money to be able to adopt some of these new policies." ESPN's Jason Whitlock said the NCAA should "get creative" and think of ways to "make the lower five conferences competitive." Whitlock: "Think of ways for them to add additional revenue, get their own television package" ("PTI," ESPN, 8/19).
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