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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

UH seeks opponent upgrade

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i is seeking to schedule football games against Oklahoma, Florida and UCLA, associate athletic director Tom Sadler confirmed yesterday.

Sadler said UH has had "preliminary discussions" with those schools, although there are several more stages remaining before any deal can be finalized.

"They're all on our radar screen," Sadler said. "It's a matter of solidifying things in the next few weeks and months. ... We'll work through the process and hopefully come to some understandings and agreements."

But Sadler cautioned discussions are in the preliminary stages and "it's too early to say (those teams are) on their way."

UH coach June Jones said athletic director Herman Frazier presented him with a wish list of opponents. Oklahoma, Florida and UCLA were among the teams Jones gave his blessing to pursuing.

"I think we all agreed those would be teams in the future we'd like to see," Jones said.

Jones said he would not hesitate to go on the road against heralded teams.

"I think, to me, that's all part of what we have to do to secure the quality of teams we would like to see," Jones said.

Sadler said it would be difficult to lure teams here without the promise of a return game.

"That's the only way we're going to get teams — two (games) here, one there," Sadler said. "They just won't come here and not want something in return."

The Sporting News reported on its Web site Sunday that Oklahoma and Hawai'i were working on a three-game deal for the 2005, '06 and '07 seasons. The trouble is, UH appears to be overbooked for the 2005 season, if the current requirement of eight league games is in effect at that time. NCAA Division I-A teams are limited to 12 regular-season games in 2005, and UH has secured nonconference games against Southern California, Michigan State, Wisconsin, San Diego State and Division I-AA Eastern Washington.

One loophole is the Western Athletic Conference, of which UH is a member, would like to add two teams, expanding to 12 and creating two six-team divisions. WAC teams currently play eight league games with a bye against the ninth team. The WAC has not announced the minimum number of league games under a two-division format.