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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

UH football team is one win from big payday

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

It will be a merry Christmas to all if the University of Hawai'i football team defeats the San Jose State Spartans Saturday at Aloha Stadium.

Not only would the Warriors earn their seventh victory, the minimum needed to qualify for an automatic berth in the inaugural ConAgra Foods Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Day, but several will share in a get-rich-quick plan, including:

• The UH players, who would receive a bowl ring, gift pack and, most important to a college student, a per diem of about $125 to prepare for the game.

On regular-season road trips, the players' daily allowance is used to pay for meals and lodging. But for bowl games, the meals and hotel expenses already are covered, enabling the players to keep their daily allowance of $125.

The Hawai'i Bowl contract requires UH to spend at least five nights at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel. But with each player assured a payout of at least $625 — more than double the amount of a monthly scholarship check — don't expect many requests for early check-out times.

• The players' wives, who also are eligible to receive a per diem.

• The UH assistant coaches, who receive a postseason bonus.

Their contracts call for a bonus equivalent to a month's salary. When the Warriors qualified for the O'ahu Bowl in 1999, UH calculated the bonuses by taking the average monthly salary of the nine assistants. Each assistant received the same bonus, which meant more to the coaches on the lower end of the pay scale.

• The Hawai'i Bowl, which guaranteed raising at least $2 million through ticket sales, sponsorships and television rights fees.

According to NCAA requirements, 75 percent of a bowl's income must go to the participating teams and conferences. With the NCAA's minimum bowl payout set at $750,000 per participating school, the Hawai'i Bowl needs to raise $2 million to break even.

The Hawai'i Bowl has reported sales of 18,000 tickets for this year's game. Without the Warriors in the game, bowl officials said, attendance might not reach 25,000. With the Warriors, it should easily surpass 40,000. The participant's share goes up in proportion to the increase in bowl revenue.

• The Western Athletic Conference, which has had to subsidize its two other affiliate postseason games — the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and Silicon Valley Bowl in San Jose, Calif.

Last year, the 10 WAC schools paid $100,000 apiece to subsidize the Silicon Valley Bowl, and another $30,000 each to cover the Humanitarian Bowl's expenses.

The Hawai'i Bowl without UH would be the equivalent of a gift-wrapped lump of coal on Christmas morning. But with UH as a participant, the game should sell more tickets, easing — if not eliminating — the financial burden on the other WAC schools. With part of UH's share going to the WAC, each member school has the potential to earn about $35,000 from the Hawai'i Bowl.