Prepare as it might, UHH athletics remains in wait-and-see mode

So much is still out of UH-Hilo athletic director Pat Guillen’s hands. He has to wait until the state figures out its own financial crisis before he knows what his budget is.

And don’t ask about playing visiting teams in the fall. The state is still trying to figure that one out. On Monday, Gov. David Ige announced the 14-day quarantine rule for inter-island travelers will be lifted June 16.

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Guillen’s approach is to be over-prepared to at least have an answer for every possible scenario with the coronavirus pandemic serving as a monkey wrench.

Men’s and women’s soccer usually starts in mid-September, and men’s and women’s basketball in mid-November. Volleyball starts in early September. But those dates may be pushed back.

The visiting teams would likely go stir crazy spending 14 days sitting in a hotel waiting to play one game. Not to mention their athletic budgets would get drained.

No doubt, Guillen’s budget will be trimmed. Traveling rosters will likely be smaller, and the PacWest is already calling for 10 conference games for soccer and two nonconference ones. Maybe nonconference games get chopped.

At least the PacWest is collaborating. A survey was sent out to all the Division II ADs and chancellors asking their opinions on the scheduling and pandemic situations.

Guillen already turned his in, and there’s a teleconference meeting on June 15.

“We’ll know more then,” he said. “We’re planning and preparing the best we can.

“The most important thing is the healthy and safety of the student-athletes, the staff and the community.”

Meanwhile, all Guillen can do is make routine calls to his colleagues around the PacWest and hope for the best.

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“Hopefully, fall sports will happen,” he said. “The soccer teams have worked hard at recruiting. The volleyball team is expecting to be good, and I’m looking for good things from men’s basketball.”

Kaniela Aiona, a 2001 Honokaa graduate, was hired on May 3 as the new UHH hoops coach. There’s a lot of anticipation to the start of a new era for him, whenever that kicks off.

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