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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 4, 2009

Donovan not sold on playing SEC team

by Ferd Lewis

What would you do for roughly $1 million?

Well, we know what Woody Harrelson did in the movie "Indecent Proposal."

But as a cash-strapped University of Hawai'i athletic director (and that is practically part of the official title these days), how far up the Mississippi or other river would you sell your football team?

Would you, for example, send the Warriors into the home of one of the Top-10 ranked Southeastern Conference teams without a home-and-home agreement?

Jim Donovan says he has turned down a $1 million offer from an SEC team he won't say which one, but we're guessing it was uppercrust rather than, say, Mississippi State.

We bring this up because Donovan and associate AD Carl Clapp have, in recent months, added games in bunches Army, Brigham Young, Southern California and Nevada-Las Vegas to schedules from 2010 to 2019.

We're beginning to see some scheduling patterns emerge. For one thing, except for the U.S. Military Academy, a national school, there is a tilt toward the West. For another, they are all home-and-home series, meaning that if UH goes there they also come here.

Once upon a time UH could book a game at Aloha Stadium only or a two-for-one deal. No longer. The NCAA's addition of a 12th game in 2006, not to mention the Warriors' rise, has almost made that ancient history.

So much so that, more and more, cancellation clauses in UH contracts are running $500,000 and up for teams that might seek out of agreements. Notre Dame, Virginia and Texas being among the marquee 10th- and 11th-hour bailouts. Two years ago Michigan State coughed up $150,000 rather than fulfill a contracted appearance here.

Thankfully, despite its financial straits, UH isn't desperate enough to snap up "body bag" road games against national championship contenders like the one that sent them to Florida last season for $600,000, without benefit of a return game. Though, in the current climate, that may come soon enough.

SEC teams are paying well for assisted suicides these days. Georgia is giving North Texas $975,000 for a 2013 appearance, New Mexico State $925,000 in 2011 and Louisiana-Lafayette $875,000 in 2010, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

UH could use that kind of money, but not the five time-zone expedition and beatings without benefit of a return home game that come with it.

The Warriors might not beat USC, either and haven't in six meetings since 1930. But they have, for the most part, been competitive, don't have to go far, get return sellouts and gain recruiting exposure in California.

That's something that makes both dollars and sense.