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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2001

UH to apply for new Hawai'i bowl in 2002

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i will apply for NCAA certification to serve as host to a college football bowl in December 2002.

UH president Evan Dobelle said he has scheduled meetings with community and corporate leaders for Jan. 7 and 8, and the school is prepared to submit a formal application to the NCAA by Jan. 15.

Although there is a moratorium on adding bowls, Western Athletic Commissioner Karl Benson said, "There's an expectation it will be lifted."

Dobelle said UH will serve as the coordinator. He said he has secured a significant commitment from First Hawaiian Bank.

Dobelle said the WAC, of which UH is a member, might be brought in as a partner, as well as to negotiate a television contract. The WAC underwrites the Silicon Valley Football Classic in San Jose, Calif., and Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

"We've said for the last year a bowl game in Hawai'i would benefit the WAC and it would benefit the University of Hawai'i," Benson said. "Hawai'i is a great destination. We believe strongly that a bowl game will work in Honolulu."

During last year's Christmas break, the Aloha Bowl and O'ahu Bowl were played at Aloha Stadium. The O'ahu Bowl has moved to Seattle and the Aloha Bowl, despite receiving certification in San Francisco, will not be played this year.

Despite a 9-3 record, the Warriors did not receive either of the WAC's two bowl berths this year. The NCAA also rejected UH's petition to play a 13th regular-season game this year.

"We want to give a clear signal we're not going to roll over on anything around here anymore," Dobelle said. "We can support athletics in this town and we can sustain a bowl game. We have a strong will for excellence."

Dobelle said he has received enough pledges from local companies to support the game. The NCAA requires a minimum payout of $800,000 per participating team. After expenses, Dobelle said, the remaining proceeds will be donated to a charity.

He said the bowl will allow UH to serve as the home team as long as it meets the NCAA requirement of six Division I-A victories and a winning record. UH had a similar arrangement with the O'ahu Bowl.

"We want to make something happen here," Dobelle said. "I say, 'Let's go.'"

UH football coach June Jones supported Dobelle's bid, saying, "It's fantastic that Evan is that kind of thinker. He thinks positively. He's the right kind of guy. I'm glad he's involved."