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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 4, 2001

UH to spike despite strike

 •  Preps preparing for walkout
 •  Teacher strike still on course

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

While maintaining support for the University of Hawai'i faculty union, the school's top-ranked men's volleyball team will play exhibition matches against Alberta on Friday and Saturday, even if there are protests outside the Stan Sheriff Center.

The University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly is threatening to strike tomorrow if a contract with the state is not reached.

But UH coach Mike Wilton said the team has an obligation to its fans, advertisers and opponents to play the matches, which will not count in the Warriors' overall record.

"Contracts have been signed, money has been spent to bring the team down," Wilton said. ". . . As far as I'm concerned, the matches are on."

Middle blocker Brenton Davis said it would be difficult to play the matches if there were a strike, and that he would not cross any pickets on the upper campus.

But Davis said the matches are "a totally different story. We've got our business here. There's too much riding on that to jeopardize that."

He added: "I'm in full support of the teachers. . . . They've always been good to me, and I've enjoyed working alongside of them. I support them and I don't plan on crossing any picket except if it's outside one of our matches."

Said outside hitter Tony Ching: "The teachers deserve whatever they want. I see teachers as being almost equal to doctors. Doctors save lives and teachers help make lives. Education is an important thing in my life."

Still, Ching said, he would play this weekend. "I don't want to hamper their chances of getting what they want," he said. "It'll be a tough decision. But when it comes down to it, I have to look out for me and the team. That's where it stands at."

Outside hitter Costas Theocharidis also maintained his support for the UH faculty, but said, "the strike isn't going to change anything. . . . We have to play the games."

Wilton, like all UH coaches, is a member of the Hawai'i Government Employees Association, a union that is not affiliated with UHPA. HGEA members have not been asked to join the strike.

But Wilton said, "If some giant stink develops, then we'll see if we can play at some high school gym somewhere."