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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Pac-10 dealing for 2008

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl has proposed making the Pac-10 a regular participant in the bowl game beginning in 2008.

When Arizona State faced Hawai'i in the 2006 Christmas Eve game, a 41-24 Warrior victory, it was the first appearance by a Pac-10 representative in the game's five years.

Under the current contract, the game will match a representative from Conference USA against a Western Athletic Conference team Dec. 23, with the Pac-10 holding an option to return in 2008.

Jim Muldoon, associate commissioner of the Pac-10, said ESPN Regional Television, which owns and operates the Hawai'i Bowl, has been in contact with the conference and its proposal could be up for a vote May 31 when the Pac-10 holds its annual summer meeting.

Muldoon said the San Diego-based Poinsettia Bowl and prospective bowls from Seattle and Salt Lake City that are expected to seek NCAA licensing have also been in contact with the Pac-10. Muldoon said the conference's Nos. 6 and 7 picks are available for two years beginning in 2008.

The Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas and San Francisco bowl games are contracted to get the first five picks of Pac-10 teams through 2009. After that the conference hopes to renegotiate all its deals. The least lucrative of those pay a minimum of $800,000 per team, well above the Hawai'i Bowl payout.

Muldoon said ASU gave the bowl experience high marks but the Pac-10 lost money on the game. Jim Donovan, executive director of the Hawai'i Bowl, said bowl officials met with Pac-10 officials earlier this month in Phoenix and developed a proposal. He did not disclose the terms.

"With all due respect to Conference USA, the Pac-10 would be the desired opponent on a regular basis rather than the rotation we have now," said Karl Benson, WAC commissioner. Last year's game drew 43,475, the most of the five Hawai'i Bowls.

This year UH will represent the WAC if it wins at least seven games in a 12- or 13-game schedule. The Warriors would have to win six if their schedule stays at the currently announced 11 games. A 12th game, Sept. 1 against Division I-AA Northern Colorado, has been announced by the Bears but not confirmed by UH.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com.