POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2010
Yes, you can believe it. It really is happening.
Don't worry about words such as "likely" and "apparently."
Hawaii football to the Mountain West is a done deal. Well, at least we were hoping so last night, that's what we were told -- just not in those words.
If you're a fan of a WAC team and you've observed the events of the past few months, you may have a hard time trusting anything coming out of the MWC. Aren't these the guys who didn't play fair in scooping up Fresno State and Nevada?
But sometimes, you just have to take things on faith.
The words "done deal" were not uttered publicly, but there are more reasons to believe that's what this is than there aren't.
Still, there was a strange feeling that UH was in too much of a hurry to announce whatever agreement there was. The ink wasn't dry because it wasn't even on the paper yet. Hurry up and announce it before they change their minds. Wait, did they make up their minds? Is there an invitation, even without the word "invitation?"
But UH president M.R.C. Greenwood put me at ease. She said a handshake deal was in place. I take that to mean things like travel subsidies, scheduling and other bones of contention have been discussed, negotiated and agreed upon to the satisfaction of all the parties concerned.
If not, there wouldn't have been a hastily called news conference to announce the invitation and acceptance, right? Don't worry that neither of those words appears in a 178-word press release, and instead there is "overture" and "inquiry."
This relationship must be way past the flirting stage. It has to be, partly because of the other major moving part, the UH-sports-other-than-football going to the Big West. That conference didn't lift its five-year moratorium on new membership the other day just for kicks.
WE'RE TOLD Greenwood is taking the lead role in this effort, which is as it should be. She got her colleagues -- the Mountain West school presidents -- to unanimously vote UH in, to have their commissioner, Craig Thompson, call her yesterday and offer the verbal handshake.
Greenwood was calm and confident at the press conference, carefully deciding what to answer and what to defer. Her smile projected a wait-'til-you-see-what's-next attitude.
And at some point, Rockne Freitas got involved. He has a great job title: Vice President for Student Affairs and University/Community Relations. That can mean just about anything, and in this case it meant the right person for the task to help broker a deal.
HERE'S PART of what Thompson said yesterday, according to the release from UH: "This inquiry is a continued effort to grow the Mountain West Conference."
That can mean a lot of different things. One popular interpretation is that it really looks like TCU is on its way out, and the MWC needs M.R.C.'s football team to help take the sting out of that loss. Gaining Hawaii and maybe Houston might make up for the Horned Frogs hopping away.
If the Warriors didn't appear to be on the upswing, if they were not on the verge of a 10-win season, this might not be happening.
And if it were not for the Hawaii Bowl and its commitment to going wherever UH goes, this might not be happening.
But the biggest reason it is happening is that the UH president convinced the Mountain West presidents having Hawaii in their conference would benefit the membership. And the university can be proud of that.
As difficult as it might be for you, believe it, and be happy.
Hello Mountain West and Big West; bye-bye WAC.