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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 29, 2006

COMMENTARY
Fans continue to bring aloha for UH sports

By Don Murphy

Contrary to the June 20 editorial "UH should be alarmed by fans who say aloha," the sky is not falling on Warrior football. Fans continue to support the players and coaches of the football program and all UH-Manoa sports, and season-ticket prices are affordable.

'Ahahui Koa 'Anuenue is a volunteer group that raises money for UH-Manoa athletic scholarships. Since 2003, we have raised more than $6 million from fans for our student-athletes, including a projected 18 percent increase from 2004-05 to 2005-06.

And season-ticket packages for UH football range from $30 for students to $145, which is available to all fans. With eight home games this year, that means ticket prices can average from $3.75 to just over $18. While 28,500 seats at Aloha Stadium are earmarked for Premium Seat Contribution, with prices from $35 to $200 in addition to season-ticket costs, premium seating has become the norm at the vast majority of Division I football programs, and certainly for our competitors in the WAC.

Through 'Ahahui Koa 'Anuenue, UH-Manoa now offers comprehensive season-ticket packages that include parking passes and premium seating for football, women's volleyball, and men's basketball and baseball. Sales of these packages in 2005-06 are on track to exceed last year' s $2.5 million, which is good news for our student-athletes. This revenue is primarily devoted to scholarships and provides a reliable source of funding for the athletic department.

Like Premium Seat Contributions, comprehensive packages are used in every major conference, from the Pac-10 to the Big 12 to programs like that at the University of Texas at Austin, the 2005-06 Division I football champion.

While paying for scholarships is the primary goal, access for all fans to attend events is just as important, and thousands of seats come without a premium cost. Aloha Stadium has 21,500 seats where no premium is required, the Stan Sheriff Center has more than 5,000 seats that are premium-free for men's and women's volleyball and men's basketball, and the Les Murakami baseball stadium has more than 2,000 seats with no premium.

UH-Manoa competes in a time when many other schools, even those within the WAC, have more significant budgets, newer facilities and larger fan bases. We have been successful in light of these challenges and look toward an even brighter future for all of our sports.

To achieve that future, our men's and women's teams need the support of the fans and the community. That relationship is a two-way street a successful program creates pride throughout the state and helps to bring everyone together.

Our students appreciate the cheers and encouragement of the community. With the options described above and the frequent sports promotions and giveaways, access to a UH-Manoa sporting event is better than ever. Please continue to support our hardworking athletes by coming to the games.

Don Murphy is chairman of 'Ahahui Koa 'Anuenue, which raises money for UH-Manoa athletic scholarships. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.