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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 17, 2004

Hawai'i hopes to hear sound of music

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i football team hopes to receive the gift of song — actually 10,000 songs — this holiday season.

• WHO: Hawai'i (7-5) vs. Alabama Birmingham (7-4)

• DATE: Dec. 24

• TIME: 2 p.m.

• WHERE: Aloha Stadium

• TICKETS: Aloha Stadium box office, Stan Sheriff Center box office, phone sales: (808) 944-2697; Internet sales: www.etickethawaii.com

• INFO: sheratonhawaiibowl.com

"That's the word on the street," offensive lineman Jonathan Ekno said.

Athletic department officials would like to fulfill the request of giving each player an iPod — a digital music player that can store up to 10,000 tunes — as part of the gift package for the Warriors' participation in next Friday's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

"They're going to try and make our Christmas wish come true," defensive tackle Lui Fuga said.

According to UH compliance officer Daniel Arakaki, the NCAA allows bowl teams to spend up to $350 on gifts for each player. Last year, the gift limit was $300.

In addition, each player receives a gift package from the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl and a stipend that is equivalent to a school's per-diem rate.

For the 1999 O'ahu Bowl, each Warrior received a $657 stipend, said Fuga, who was a freshman that season. He said each player received a stipend of $300 from the UH athletic department for participating in last year's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. Players' spouses also receive stipends and are allowed to stay at the team hotel. There are about a half-dozen married players on the team.

Last year, UH players received Xbox sets (valued at about $250 apiece) and were allowed to keep their black jerseys.

This week, three of the four team captains — Fuga, slotback Chad Owens and cornerback Abraham Elimimian — called a team meeting to vote on this year's gift. Quarterback Tim Chang said he missed the meeting because he was receiving treatment for a back injury.

"We asked the guys what they wanted," Fuga said. "Some guys wanted laptops and camcorders. Realistically, we're not in a BCS bowl."

Using the Xbox as a price range, kicker Justin Ayat said, "we decided on iPods. They're the things nowadays. Everybody pretty much voted for that."

The captains then met with UH associate athletic director Tom Sadler.

"He said they would do the best job" to meet the request, Fuga said. "I believe that guy."

Wideout Britton Komine said:

"I think they'll work with us. We worked hard this year. We did a lot of things for the school. Hopefully, they can come through. We can't wait."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8051.