Monday, August 18, 2014

Ben Jay asks for $3 million or ...

Athletic director Ben Jay today asked University of Hawaii officials to help lobby the state for $3 million to help keep the financially-challenged athletic program competitive or it may have to consider a reduction in sports, including football.

"There is a very real possibility of football going away," Jay said under questioning by members of the Board of Regents Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.

But, he cautioned, "but even if football goes away, all the revenues that football drives goes away and then it becomes a costlier venture for the university."

Jay said cutting any sport was a "back pocket" possibility.

"I think, in my mind, it has to come from the state. In part, I'm asking this board, President (David Lassner) and the UH-Manoa leadership to support and ask the legislature for direct for direct funding support for the athletic program," Jay said.

Jay said UH closed the just-completed fiscal year with a $2.1 million deficit and projects at least a $1.5 million deficit for the current fiscal years that ends June 30, 2015.

Jay said that was based upon "optimistic" figures and could go as high as "$2.5 million to $3 million."

Jay told the regents, "It is our goal to try and get out of this," but said the fiscal model UH has been operating on "is broken."

He said athletics has run at a deficit for 11 of the last 13 years.

"Not been a matter of spending, it has really been a matter of not achieving enough revenue to support ourselves, " Jay said. "What we have now is a bare bones operating budget that is limping along and has hurt our competitiveness and our ability to recruit and people want us to win. It raises, I think the entire state, by what we do. And, I think we are worthy of the investment."

***

Bring back Jim Donovan? [He left less than two years ago.  I wonder how he's doing?  Then again, I don't see football on their list of sports.]

***

Um.  Let me clarify..

After earlier in the day telling a Board of Regents committee, "there is a very real possibility of football going away," under questioning by the board, Jay said issued the following statement:

"My comments at the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics' meeting were made in order to convey a sense of urgency regarding the need to address our current funding model. In no way was I indicating that a decision on program reduction of any sport was under consideration. Rather, I was suggesting that the department's financial situation required that all possible scenarios be reviewed. Hopefully, going forward, there will be a priority placed on discussing the future financial needs of the UH Athletics Department. President David Lassner has expressed his support and we'll call upon our many loyal stakeholders to help us ensure that we remain competitive within the future landscape of intercollegiate athletics. We owe that to our student-athletes and passionate fans."

[Well, I guess it doesn't hurt to ask.]

*** [9/4/14] We Get 'em

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