Students could help fund operations UH athletics seeks outside aid
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
One way or another, the University of Hawai'i athletic department will ask students to help pay a higher cost of helping fund its operations.
In an appearance before the Board of Regents yesterday, athletic director Jim Donovan pushed the concept of a student activity fee that would make admission to sporting events free to students with his department sharing in the fees collected.
UH hopes to use such funds to help the department slice into annual deficits of $2 million or more and an accumulated net deficit that is forecast to reach $10.1 million by the end of June.
Student government last year expressed heavy opposition to the proposal for a $50 per semester student athletic fee. But Donovan yesterday floated the idea of tying athletic events to other attractions on campus that "enhance the student experience."
Meanwhile, the regents approved a separate proposal hiking some ticket pricing levels, including the Sept. 2 football opener against Southern California. Students would pay $15 for that game, up from $8. All other games would remain at $8.
"We'll go either way; we'll either go with individual pricing for students by sport, individual and season (tickets) or an activity fee," Donovan said.
Donovan said UH has "bent over backwards" for students in the past, dropping the price of a football season ticket from $65 in 1998 to the current $50 and most individual games from $9 to $8.
Meanwhile, the regents approved an expedited hiring proposal that would allow UH to make a contract offer exceeding salary guidelines to a coaching candidate without taking it before the full board.