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WAC commissioner blames breakaway schools for schedule delay

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 8:11 a.m. HST, Mar 7, 2011

The last Western Athletic Conference football schedule for the University of Hawaii is becoming as contentious as the breakup of the conference.

Eleventh hour dithering by breakaway schools Fresno State and Nevada has been blamed for sending the 2011 schedule "back to ground zero," commissioner Karl Benson told members in a frank e-mail.

At a time when most major conferences have already announced their schedules and TV lineups, Benson added it will be later this month before a WAC schedule and TV lineup is finalized.

Nevada threw a late monkey wrench into the schedule when it changed its mind about playing previously scheduled non-conference games on the road in succession against Oregon (Sept. 10), Texas Tech (Sept. 24) and Boise State (Oct. 1) — and sought to drop one of them.

Then, "24 hours before when we were going to announce the WAC schedule," came word of Fresno State's Dec. 3rd game at San Diego State, Benson said.

"For you to do this without our knowledge and now cause (associate commissioner Jeff Hurd ) to start over making the schedule "is neither fair nor equitable to the other seven WAC members," Benson wrote in an e-mail addressed to Bulldogs' athletic director Thomas Boeh. "Jeff will do his best to establish a fair and balanced schedule for all eight WAC football teams but you have just made his job much more difficult," Benson's e-mail concluded.

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