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Saturday, November 20, 2010

WAC / MWC News

Ferd Lewis has some behind-the-scenes details about how UH began negotiating with the Mountain West Conference. Here's an excerpt:
When Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada announced their departures from the WAC this summer, Greenwood, who hadn't had much of a finger in athletics heretofore, came to appreciate the depth of the community's concern over the fate of the athletic program.

What she had initially described as "a Manoa (campus) issue" to a booster had taken on considerably more import.

Karr and board secretary Keith Amemiya, former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, are said to have driven home the urgency of the situation.
Lewis writes about the travel subsidies UH may have to end up paying to the Mountain West and the Big West.
"Jim (Donovan) is putting together some numbers for us," said Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell.

UH currently does not subsidize travel for fellow Western Athletic Conference members, though previously, it has subsidized travel costs in the WAC and Big West. Apparently open to negotiation with the MWC and Big West is whether the subsidies will involve airfare only or might also include hotel and other expenses.
The Star-Advertiser has an editorial celebrating the move.

According to San Diego State president Stephen Weber, UH is not the only school the Mountain West is looking at.
League officials will meet in January, when they expect to know more about adding Hawaii as a member. The league also may consider adding another school beyond that. Having 12 football teams would allow the MWC to form two six-team divisions and a revenue-producing postseason championship game.

“Hawaii is not the only school that we’re interested in and have had informal conversations with,” Weber said. “It’s the first one that’s gone far enough that we’re willing to literally authorize the commissioner to begin to talk seriously.”
I know we're not supposed to worry about it, but Weber makes it sound like it's far from a done deal.
“For me, in order to support something like that, I need to be assured it’s plus-plus, that it adds to our TV revenues and it’s more than what we share right now,” Sterk said. “Does it help us leverage a better (TV) agreement? Are there ways to mitigate the Hawaii travel? Does that (potential) 12th member with a championship game add value enough to make it worthwhile? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before we would go forward.”
Lewis writes that the WAC is trying to make sure it's not a done deal with a counteroffer to UH.
Benson said the offer was made to both UH-Manoa chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw and athletic director Jim Donovan. Donovan confirmed the offer but declined comment. Hinshaw did not respond to requests for comment made through a spokesman.

"I'm certainly not surprised to hear they would be sorry to see us leave the league," UH president M.R.C. Greenwood said. "I have not heard anything directly myself."