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Wednesday, October 01, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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UH had some rare leverage in scheduling with Temple

By Dave Reardon

POSTED:



The last thing the University of Hawaii wants to do is follow up the Wonder Blunder with the Temple of Doom.

So when the Owls came a-hootin' around again recently about playing a football game here — in little more than a month from now — the Warriors brass was rightfully cautious, even more than then-AD Jim Donovan was back in the summer upon the first denied overture.

That's when it was originally determined that a middle-of-the-road Big East team might not be enough of a draw at Aloha Stadium to make money. And also that such a team might knock a middle-of-the road UH team out of the Hawaii Bowl.

Well, that second part's not a problem, since the only way the 1-6 Warriors are going bowling this year is on a team outing to Pali Lanes.

And that might be a better way for them to spend the evening of Dec. 7 than at Aloha Stadium hosting Temple, which may or may not be playing for its sixth win and bowl eligibility.

When the Owls asked again a couple of weeks ago, UH did the prudent thing and said words to the effect of, "No, sorry, we can't pay you a couple of hundred thousand dollars to come here and try to beat us and extend your season."

Plus there were the roadblocks of conference and NCAA approval, and finding a time and place since Aloha Stadium was booked for Saturday, Dec. 8.

Those hurdles were cleared, but it still didn't add up financially for Hawaii. As the bean counters like to say these days, the numbers didn't pencil-out well … meaning UH would lose money.

But Temple must really want this game. AD Bill Bradshaw called back with a better proposal for Hawaii — one that has the Owls paying their own expenses (I wonder if they penciled-out hotel rates, considering it's the weekend of the Honolulu Marathon).

UH acting athletic director Rockne Freitas liked it enough to come to an agreement in principle with Temple and get to work on those devilish details.

We're hearing that season-ticket holders will not be asked to ante up for this one, since they were promised no increase in prices from last year and this would be the seventh home game, matching the number for 2011 (I still want to be assured of a signed contract before I go from "would" to "will").

UH GOT OUT of the calculated-risk business after that $200,000 it thought was going toward a deposit for a Stevie Wonder concert here disappeared, most of it now in the college fund jars of exotic dancers in the greater Miami area.

That high-profile error, compounded many times by months of damage control miscues, put the school on notice that is has to be much more careful with public resources.

Some of you have asked, and, yes, you can rest assured: No six-figure sum has been wired to a purported representative of Bill Cosby … nor to former UH and Temple administrator Herman Frazier.

In this case with the Owls, it looks like UH's initial caution may lead to a money-making venture for the financially struggling athletic department.

Maybe.

People still have to show up and buy some tickets. They're not coming from Philadelphia; perhaps a very few well-heeled Temple alums will fly to Hawaii on short notice. But the diehard college football fans will be staying put for the Army-Navy game Dec. 8.

As for walk-up UH fans, to see this team? I don't know. Unless the game is scheduled well in advance, people tend to have other things to do on Friday nights in early December, like attend Christmas parties … or watch it on pay-per-view.

THE OWLS want this game a lot more than most of us here in Hawaii do, and UH has rare scheduling leverage. The Big East wants Temple bowl-eligible because if it isn't, the conference might not have enough teams to fill its affiliations, and that's embarrassing.

I hope the agreement in principle includes the booking of future games with Temple … some of them against their sporty basketball team. College scheduling is a "you-take-care-of-me, I'll-take-care-of-you" world. It's no mystery who's scratching who's back with this game.

There's history here; not much, but memorable.

In 1979, one of 10-2 Temple's wins was a 34-31 victory at Hawaii. It was the 6-5 Rainbows' only nonconference loss during its first WAC season.

A crowd of 33,742 fans showed up at Aloha Stadium.

They had Gary Allen, Niko Noga and Jesse Sapolu to watch.

And they had more than five weeks' notice to plan to attend.

Reach Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com or 529-4783.






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