Saving UH-Hilo athletics
What’s the purpose of athletics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo?
It’s a knotty question the parent organization in Honolulu is considering these days as it considers necessary cuts to a budget that hit a deficit of $9.3 million, according to UH-Manoa projections — more than double than the estimated losses prior to the pandemic.
In spring 2019, the school was considering a $300,000 trim to the UH-Hilo athletic budget, which alarmed the Vulcans’ athletic department. But today, those cuts need to go much deeper.
There’s a way out of this, if the school will consider a different path for funding athletics.
Think of it as getting smarter about allocating athletic scholarships.
What if UH-Hilo took a one- or two-year hiatus from the NCAA and hired someone we’ll call a “scholarship czar” to reimagine the future? It could probably be done in a year, but no harm in building some extra time, if required.
The scholarship czar would be a person who knows the ins and out of scholarships of all kinds, from the traditional academic examples, to those funded by civic and fraternal organizations.
When recruits are identified, let’s say California recruits, the czar would get a transcript and search for any and all possible scholarships. She’s a history major? Someone interested in marine biology? There are scholarship opportunities out there. She’s left-handed and Serbian? There are scholarships available for both.
The czar would scour every possible form of aid with the hope of eliminating or greatly reducing the need for an athletic scholarship. If other forms of aid can contribute 40% to 60% of the scholarship, that’s great, then the athletic scholarship would be reduced by about half.
If the school did that for every incoming athlete, it could achieve huge savings in the athletic budget, and the czar and his or her staff would stay busy when the student is enrolled, continuing to seek ways to trim costs the following semester or following year, based on the student’s expanding academic interest.
Let’s be up front here. UH-Hilo athletics draws a mom-and-pop crowd. It doesn’t survive on attendance, it survives on the generosity of UH-Manoa.
In the interest of all, there’s no sense in a UH-Hilo system that simply writes off expensive scholarships to the athletic department budget and expects someone else to pay for them.
Be proactive. Find nonathletic scholarships that are available, and use the athletic department to fill in as needed, but make sure those funds are absolutely necessary to get that athlete in school and in class.
Dear Ms. Enoka (“Fake news,” Your Views, Jan. 6): I am saddened to see your cancellation of our local newspaper.
Labeling it as “fake” is a shame. The Associated Press, which is the primary source of most non-Hawaii stories, is an international syndicate of reliable and factual reporters, and not the latest misinformation common in just a few slices of the media.
I challenge you to broaden, not shrink, your sources for news — at the very least, consider that what you hear and read is taken with a grain of salt.
The mendacious conspiracies long being pushed or supported by the current president of the United States are echoed in just a few media outlets and online.
There are two sides to every tale; listening to both is a good thing. Hearing and reading more than one source of news can help you see that Americans with beliefs that do not match yours does not make them an enemy.
I hope your donation goes to a worth cause.
I close with a quote from Isaac Asimov. “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” seems appropriate, relative to the Jan. 6 threat to our republic.