Friday, September 27, 2013

Hawaii setting sights on Pac-12 (seriously?)

Saying Pac-12 membership is an achievable goal, University of Hawaii officials will ask 78 major stakeholders today to put their money behind the athletic department's ambitious dreams.

Athletic director Ben Jay told the Board of Regents Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics on Thursday that he will lay out his "Game Plan" to elevate the department's future at today's invitation-only downtown luncheon.

"The pitch we are going to make is, I feel, Manoa has now done its part taking a step forward (for athletics) and now we are asking the community and government," Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple told regents.
According to a fund-raising plan presented to the regents, UH seeks to raise $7.1 million in donations for the current fiscal year and $44.4 million over the next five years.

The department has averaged $6.2 million annually in donations over the past five years and wants to raise its annual budget from $32 million to $40 million within five years.

"We have pretty high hopes," Apple told the regents, saying, "I want to be playing Stanford, USC and Berkeley all the time so that we are thought of in the same vein."

Apple said, "I'd like to give (Jay) three years to build this public commitment and at the end of three years, if we can follow the plan that Ben has laid out, I'll also say this: particularly with the outreach we have been making to China and Asia that, I believe, if we get this kind of commitment, that we will be in a position, because of our academics, because of then our new stances in athletics, that we could be considered for admission to the Pac-12, the Pac-whatever, the Pac-16 at that point. That is certainly a goal. It is not going to be easy and not everyone agrees that we can do it, but I think it is where we need to go."

In materials presented to the board, Jay said, "This community is going to be called to action like never before. We will rely upon our community — all who call themselves avid supporters of Hawaii athletics — to decide with their financial resources the quality and level of competitive success they want from this athletic program."

[maybe they should try first for a winning football program]

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