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Lawmaker wants state to give $10M 'boost' to UH athletics

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 08:35 p.m. HST, Jan 07, 2014

State Rep. K. Mark Takai has proposed that the Legislature grant the finacially struggling University of Hawaii athletic program a "one-time $10 million boost" with matching funds.

Under Takai's proposal, which is to be introduced during the legislative session, the state would provide $2 for each $1 raised by the school.

The "boost" is intended to "leverage community support," Takai (D-Aiea) said.

"It's much easier to get community support and people in the stands when we have winning teams," Takai said in a news release today. "However, it's because of the past few challenging years that we need to step up now and support our athletic program."

UH athletics ran up a $3.3 million deficit for the fiscal year that closed June 30, and projects as much as a $1 million deficit for the current fiscal year.

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Oahuan wrote:
Keep the $10 mil and fire Chow. Cheapest way to gain more revenue.
on January 7,2014 | 08:10AM
RichardCory wrote:
Finally, a political position I can get behind.
on January 7,2014 | 08:17AM
NorthShore wrote:
Political position?!?! Get behind?!?!? not good, not good.......... UH should use the 10 million for education not sports.
on January 7,2014 | 09:23AM
Anonymous wrote:
the mistakes began when takai was ASUH president. Its a mistake to invest additional money into fiscally irresponsible UH. Shouldn't have hired the past president and football head coach among others. UH admin is overpaid and for the most part not necessary...
on January 7,2014 | 01:49PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
Are you kidding?!
on January 7,2014 | 09:45AM
bekwell wrote:
Northtshore is correct. Colleges are for education, not for people to play with their balls.
on January 7,2014 | 01:49PM
Slow wrote:
Is Nick Saban available? Can we clone Jones? Can we do anything better with $10,000,000?
on January 7,2014 | 08:32AM
false wrote:
Please get over the Jones thing,
on January 7,2014 | 08:44AM
csdhawaii wrote:
Indeed! Talk about living in the past...sheesh.
on January 7,2014 | 11:19AM
sjean wrote:
Chow doesn't represent the past?
on January 7,2014 | 01:34PM
Mediocrates wrote:
keep the money, fire Chow AND THEN the State has $20 million more, right?
on January 7,2014 | 08:33AM
control wrote:
what!? get rid of the Messiah and Savior? Don't waste tax payer dollars on athletic just because Hawaii has fair weather fans. There are far better programs at UH that could use the funding.
on January 7,2014 | 10:27AM
Pocho wrote:
This has to be more than a one time deal. Every year UHAD is in the red, except the Sugar Bowl year I thinks. I think the State of Hawaii needs to make a longer term commitment than a $10million boost cause that money ain't gonna last long. It'd be a nice start
on January 7,2014 | 01:10PM
wayneki wrote:
The UH has a spending and accountability problem, not a revenue problem.
on January 8,2014 | 12:18AM
MC96816 wrote:
You just lost my vote, dude.
on January 7,2014 | 08:17AM
kamoae wrote:
He lost my vote too! Academics should come before Athletics!
on January 7,2014 | 12:33PM
jjjjo wrote:
I second that
on January 7,2014 | 12:45PM
Freedive wrote:
That's it, typical Hawaii politician response. Throw money at it and expect things to improve. It's not his money anyway....
on January 7,2014 | 08:18AM
boshio wrote:
Takai is a dreamer, no way this will pass. UH has to understand why there are not too many fan support, and why its not throwing money at the athletics department. They can start by showing appreciation for fan support by having reasonable ticket, parking and food prices, but most of all upgrade the mostly silly harressment security at the gates. Secondly, the administration has a tremendous way to go to get the peoples trust that they are not throwing money down the toilet anymore.
on January 7,2014 | 02:14PM
opirocs wrote:
how bout a 10Mil boost to the Education system..and not just the Athletic program...smh
on January 7,2014 | 08:25AM
Mediocrates wrote:
right? or $10 million world renowned excellent programs at UH that are actually struggling due to underfunding? He's not getting my vote.
on January 7,2014 | 08:34AM
pcman wrote:
Agree that there are other things at UH that can use $10Mil, like fixing the buildings. Chow and Jay need to do their jobs right so they can make the $10Mil through athletic programs.
on January 7,2014 | 09:54AM
boshio wrote:
Takai is blind.
on January 7,2014 | 02:15PM
Kapuna wrote:
Takai's wife works there.
on July 5,2014 | 12:10AM
Slow wrote:
Impeach Takai. What is the mission of the university of HAwaii? Entertainment? A minor league sports program? Millions spent on a football team of mainlanders? Take a visit to the Manoa campus. Shabby and embarrassing. But Mark Takai wants us to attract better recruits. That's really important. To Mark anyway.
on January 7,2014 | 08:29AM
ghstar wrote:
Slow is right. If the citizens of Hawaii want to raise $10M for UH football, let them write their checks and send them to Manoa. Don't try to hide it in the state budget someplace. There are so many more important things the state could do with $10M -- roads, UH maintenance, public school maintenance, improved pre-school programs . . . BTW, Mark, you just lost my vote in the primary.
on January 7,2014 | 09:07AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
Absolutely agree! Let Takai write the check! Nuts!
on January 7,2014 | 09:46AM
islandsun wrote:
Throw more taxpayer money to cover for bad decision making. Boycott UH athletics.
on January 7,2014 | 11:53AM
jjjjo wrote:
Agree - Mark can write his own check for $2 for every $1 donated
on January 7,2014 | 12:46PM
primo1 wrote:
Last salvo fired in the legislature before running for congress is my guess. Pretty weak one at that.
on January 7,2014 | 10:05AM
Kapuna wrote:
then let him pay for it out of his own pocket, not burden the taxpayers. Kick him out of politics.
on July 5,2014 | 12:11AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Why not hit up Ashley Lelie, A.C. Carter, and Chad Owens for some large donations? You have a better chance of success with that than getting this $10M boost passed.

This criticism isn't directed at Takai, because he's ALWAYS been an advocate for UH. But, I don't think you're going to convince the same body that has routinely tried to reduce the amount of money UH gets from the state to give the football team a $10M gift. The article might say it's a gift for the entire athletic department, but let's be real. All of that money gets plowed into football with the hope that a halo effect falls over the other sports.

on January 7,2014 | 08:32AM
Oahuan wrote:
Regardless if his proposal passes or not, Mark Takai already succeeded by getting his name out there as a champion for UH Athletics.
on January 7,2014 | 08:43AM
primo1 wrote:
He was always a cheerleader for UH athletics. What he succeeded in doing was losing votes.
on January 7,2014 | 09:18AM
inverse wrote:
Yup. BIG mistake. Majority of Hawaii taxpayers who vote and are UH fans are downright disgusted at the current administrators in UH athletics, most coaches, the BOR, Carbone and the UH cancer research center, etc.; and Takai now wants to throw $10 million of taxpayer dollars down the sewer just to bail out UH athletics is pretty much going to guarantee Takai will lose his next election.
on January 7,2014 | 11:23AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Takai's UH cheerleading has always struck a quaint chord with locals because we value loyalty. But, he's crossed the line here and it could have very damaging consequences. It's one thing to have an interest. It's not that bad to use a political office as a pulpit from which to pursue that interest. But, it's quite, quite another thing to start talking about throwing around public dollars in the 8 figures to safeguard that interest - particularly when it's a UH sports system that's lost credibility and, unfortunately, public love. You're right Oahuan. Takai has succeeded in getting his name out as champion for UH Athletics. But, he is also auditioning his "judgment", impulses and potential legislative priorities as a public official for a statewide audience. So, it is apparently his "judgment" that UH should get $10 million MORE of public moneys (for having done what, I'm not clear on), it his impulse to throw $10 million at UH sports to achieve a purpose he's defined as "winning", and it appears his first (and for all we know ONLY) legislative priority is to give UH sports $10 million to try and win. I guess everyone has their election angles.
on January 7,2014 | 09:48AM
Mediocrates wrote:
No WAY!!! What a waste.
on January 7,2014 | 08:32AM
Oahuan wrote:
Mark Takai, we all know this is a move to garner votes. This "proposal" is nothing more than a ploy to get your name out there with the UH fans and get their votes. This "proposal" has zero chances of clearing the House. You know it, and we know it. Who you think you're fooling?
on January 7,2014 | 08:35AM
false wrote:
Great idea, I didn't realize that Mark was that rich. No on our dime please.
on January 7,2014 | 08:44AM
Skyler wrote:
Seriously? Pretty sure that $10 mil. could be used for something more productive.
on January 7,2014 | 08:49AM
SueH wrote:
Why is this all about athletics?? Shouldn't an institution of higher learning be primarily focused on academic education? Appropriate the 10 million to improve educational programs and classroom facilities at the UH and forget about grooming the mediocre athletic department with more wasted funds.
on January 7,2014 | 08:50AM
CriticalReader wrote:
If you're going to "give UH money, then make it DO something or actually, some things, in return. $10 million in cash? Make them distribute $10 million in tickets to the community to build fan base and interest. Make them change their marketing personnel to acquire a critical qualification - creativity. Require matching dollars from the "stakeholders". There's a list of them. It's the Summer (or Fall) lunch invite list - you know, that great marketing/fundraising venture by Ben Jay that fell flat on its face. How about some "commitment" from the overpaid failures? How about making it contingent upon presentation of a plan for economic survival that involves more than wishful, fantastical hopes that someone, anyone, is going to donate money? Also, the public kicks in $10 miillion to keep them employed at more than comfort level salaries (Jay and Chow come immediately to mind)? Maybe they should kick in some voluntary reductions to demonstrate commitment to make things work?. Otherwise, seems like the good ole UH one way street. "Give us, but we don't give back." There's some leverage there. Both Chow and Jay can still make substantial six figures (albeit less than they currently do) with the possibility of keeping their reputations and/or future employment prospects intact if UH gets a lifeline. If not, the department dies, along with both their futures. But, $10 million MORE to support demonstrated failure? Give the public school kids more computers for that kind of money. At least there's an upside to that.
on January 7,2014 | 08:54AM
kennie1933 wrote:
Is it April 1 already? Oh...this is a serious article. My bad.
on January 7,2014 | 08:54AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Congrats, kennie1983. You win the prize for the best post today!
on January 7,2014 | 10:58AM
kennie1933 wrote:
Ooooo....could it be TEN MILLION DOLLARS? Haha!
on January 7,2014 | 11:46AM
kainalu wrote:
Doesn't this bum know that the University of Hawaii Is a higher-learning institution? UH isn't a sports franchise. There's no way I vote for this clown for the House.
on January 7,2014 | 08:57AM
ghstar wrote:
$10 million for football? You have to be kidding. Think of it this way: That is $7.27 for every man, woman and child in the state; or, $10.49 for every person on Oahu. So, Mark, why don't you just put it to the people as a tax increase, which is what this is at the end of the day after you give the money to UH. Ask the voters "Do you favor a tax increase of $7.27 for each person in your family so Hawaii can recruit more football players from California?" I'm pretty sure we know what the answer would be. If the citizens of Hawaii want to raise $10M for UH football, let them write their checks and send them to Manoa. Don't try to hide it in the state budget someplace. BTW, you just lost my vote in the primary.
on January 7,2014 | 08:57AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Takai is running for Congress. Is this the kind of fiscal perspective we can expect from him? The answer is yes. Because it seems like money to UH sports and anger over UH sports coaching decisions is the only thing we ever hear about from Takai. I would be impressed if there were a headline about a desire on his part to put taxpayer money to work addressing critical community education, social services, or infrastructure needs, as opposed to the needs of a narrow group of individuals to be "entertained", and a narrower group of individuals to maintain outrageously upside down salaries.
on January 7,2014 | 09:26AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
Vote against him! Save our property taxes from going up! If Allie were here she wld say Yikes! So I'll say Yikes for her! Maybe they have censored her?
on January 7,2014 | 09:50AM
DAGR81 wrote:
Where is allie?
on January 7,2014 | 11:19AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Sucked into the Artic vortex...........kinda miss her posts.
on January 7,2014 | 11:31AM
bnc_connection wrote:
Property taxes are assessed from the City. This is a State issue. I may not agree with Rep. Takai, but at least he's trying to come up with solutions. Everyone else just seems to sit back and complain, but no one is willing to help. Have you ever donated your time or money to support UH? I have. Same old story, same result. It's time for everyone to put up or shut up.
on January 7,2014 | 04:17PM
nj24 wrote:
Two years ago was getting rid of Coach Mack and "IT"S CHOW TIME". I'm a diehard UH supporter and go to game on the mainland when it feasible but this fly by night fans makes me sick. Coach Chow needs one more year to get the team he built not a team he inherent. After next year if the team doesn't improve then a coaching change is in order. As for Jun Jones after he took over SMU he did well but the conference wasn't ready for this type of offense. Once they see it year after year the team will be SO/SO but exciting. SMU has not won their conference title since JJ took over.
on January 7,2014 | 09:08AM
bleedgreen wrote:
It's also easier to secure public and private support when th state takes a lead.
on January 7,2014 | 09:24AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Did you hear that Mark Takai? That was your congressional hopes going down the cr@pper.
on January 7,2014 | 09:27AM
primo1 wrote:
There is fundraising for UH athletics already in place - AKA, UHAA, Na Koa, pretty much every sport has its own booster club. If people want to financially support UH athletics, they can do so by donating to any of these organizations. Bad idea K. Mark.
on January 7,2014 | 09:28AM
localguy wrote:
Dysfunctional bureaucrat State Rep. K. Mark Takai just doesn't get it. He thinks he can just give away our tax dollars to the money pit UH Manoa. Mark, if you want to give UH your money, go ahead. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize a losing organization. Not our fault if UH BOR consistently fails to find a functional president and waste tens of thousands of dollars on them. Not our fault if UH willfully fails to make progressive financial management upgrades, charging students for their incompetence. Mark's willful failure to be responsible with our tax dollars is the reason why the Nei is billions of dollars in debt. Mark, you might want to find a new career, this one isn't cutting it for tax payers.
on January 7,2014 | 09:35AM
HIprof wrote:
How about a "boost" to the academic side--the teaching!--and then matching grants from the community? Great idea, that.
on January 7,2014 | 09:36AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
WHY? I thought Takai was an advocate for frugality and morality ? Feed the homeless! Repair the roads for your constituents and remember to vote against Takai next time!
on January 7,2014 | 09:45AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Take it easy. No one bats 1.000, and he's done more good than bad. His is a silly, stupid idea, but that does NOT make him a silly, stupid man. Of course, I'm not presuming to tell you who to vote for, but how do you know the alternative will be better?
on January 7,2014 | 09:56AM
ghstar wrote:
Let's hope he reads these comments and gets the message.
on January 7,2014 | 10:22AM
huponews wrote:
Boy, same old tune from all the negative people......get a life and stop crying about everything. We have a surplus, so why not support the only major University that we have. And Gov....... It's time to give the University Aloha Stadium and the state handle the repairs and maintenance. Students need to run the stadium like a business.....work study, apprentice, similar to a nursing program. Clean up at all events can be done by Oahu prison inmates and a occasional Sunday football game after clean up at no cost to anyone..... Have a good one everybody....think outside the box!!!
on January 7,2014 | 10:28AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
More thinking outside the box: 1) stop selling beer at Aloha Stadium; 2) require Aloha stadium security guards to do more than just stand around watching the games 3) set reasonable fees for parking 4) set reasoable prices for food at games. These four things would bring a lot of fans back to UH football home games. My family and I sopped going 3 years ago. We got tired of drunken "fans" throwing up in the stands and picking fights witjh other hoodlums (whoops, :fans") while the security guards did nothing. And for that we had to pay very high parking rates and extortionate amiounts for a snack.
on January 7,2014 | 11:11AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
This, this and this. I've been to a lot of football games on the mainland, and the one thing that always struck me was the absence of alcohol sales in the venue. I wish we did that here, and I agree that I think it would encourage more family attendance. People will still drink outside while tailgating, but at least they couldn't ingest more alcohol once they walked in.

Bad team alcohol = bad times

on January 7,2014 | 01:00PM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
@ K. Mark, UH Atletics has had a systemic problem with deficits for years, even when the football had winning seasons. The number of football fans spirals downward year after year, and defiticits increase no matter who is coaching. Problems connected with fans not wanted to attend games at Aloha Stadium are not dealth with by the State, which is the owner of the Stadium. Instead, the "solution" is "one-time only" fixes and bail-outs. Didn't the Board of Reghents just bail out Manoa athletics in 2013? Let's address all the problems before you, K. Mark, throw OUR (taxpayers') money down the rat hole that is UH Athletics.
on January 7,2014 | 10:53AM
csdhawaii wrote:
Excellent post. If Athletics can't sustain itself, then this one-time boost is just a bandaid - what happens when that money is used up and they are in deficit again? They've gotten bailed out by the University already, now they need to make some hard decisions about keeping themselves solvent.
on January 7,2014 | 11:27AM
kennie1933 wrote:
And the one time we did strike it rich, the year we went to the BCS Sugar Bowl, what did UH do with all the money? We sent everyone and his brother (and everyone's children) to the game with that money, leaving us nothing afterwards. If we give UH athletics $10,000,000, who knows how they will spend that money? If we can guarantee a bowl game (not Hawaii Bowl), CWS, softball CWS, Men's and Women's NCAA Tournament bids, Volleyball Final Four, etc., then let's do it! But there are no guarantees, and seeing how money is spent at UH (Stevie Wonder concert and aftermath ring a bell?), we should just take the $10,000,000 in single dollar bills, bundle them up, make a big hibachi using the bills instead of charcoal, and make a BBQ. At least we get some party food for a day which is more than we'll get if we give it to UH athletics.
on January 7,2014 | 11:53AM
DAGR81 wrote:
and he wants us to send him to Congress...what a joke.
on January 7,2014 | 11:14AM
Wazdat wrote:
Really. I mean come on don't you have MORE IMPORTANT things to do?????
on January 7,2014 | 11:16AM
iwanaknow wrote:
He just bought himself $10 million dollars of free advertising that will sink his ship. On another note: can you imagine what who happen if they did away with the Athletics Program and just did it on an intramurals program.....BIG $ saved!
on January 7,2014 | 11:32AM
loquaciousone wrote:
That is a "tall" order, Mark.
on January 7,2014 | 11:45AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Takai is expensive as well as tall.
on January 7,2014 | 11:57AM
loquaciousone wrote:
And Kobe is a very very very takai beef..........both in Japan and in the NBA.
on January 7,2014 | 01:11PM
peanutgallery wrote:
on January 7,2014 | 12:03PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Thanks for thought Mark, but its time the community started supporting UH athletics. Nobody likes a loser, but if they can get the football program turned around, it should instill pride in the community. Norm, score as many points as you can. We want tough running backs, fearless receivers, and linemen that can kick bu#t. On defense, we want tough, athletic guys who can challenge anyone and has the tenacity of lion. We want to see a defense that gives no quarter and fights to the very end. Then you won't have to go to the community for support, they will come to you. Go Rainbow Warriors!
on January 7,2014 | 12:27PM
dlum003 wrote:
Cant that money be used for much more critical things like education and infrastructure? Maybe Takai can empty his personal bank accounst to "boost" UH. Is he still drunk from one his tailgate partoes? To even consider this is simply insane. Leave us out of it please.
on January 7,2014 | 12:35PM
bobjones wrote:
Okay … that rules Takai out of the 1st Congressional District race!!!!!!!!
on January 7,2014 | 12:48PM
Anonymous wrote:
Didn't taxpayers "forgive" $13 million of athletic department red ink about six months ago? Perhaps more scrutiny of governance structures and personnel are first in order before indiscriminately throwing money at UH.
on January 7,2014 | 12:52PM
Anonymous wrote:
yes they did and they are still running in the red.
on January 7,2014 | 02:11PM
kamakane wrote:
And this Guy running for a seat next year,,,,,no biggie, he never had my vote and this act of his solidified my stance against him
on January 7,2014 | 01:47PM
samidunn wrote:
What about the buildings on campus that are falling apart?
on January 7,2014 | 02:10PM
Sat wrote:
It's easy for a guy running for a congressional seat to give away money, especially when it's not his just to win a few votes among UofH athletic department's supporters. I hope the voters can see through this phoney act of generosity.
on January 7,2014 | 02:11PM
mcc wrote:
What a politician, $10 million more of taxpayer's money!
on January 7,2014 | 02:13PM
EINSTEIN1 wrote:
Politicians are like termites and cockroaches. They come out of their nests at night mating with each other and foraging for food during election time and then they start giving away other people's money.
on January 7,2014 | 02:17PM
Carl_C wrote:
Talk about throwing good money after bad. Takai needs to re-think his priorities.
on January 7,2014 | 02:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Especially since the "breaking news" is that the State's revenue forecast is now being down graded. Bad timing, Mark, real bad.
on January 7,2014 | 05:11PM
4sanitysake wrote:
Just another career politician who has lost touch with the community that he is supposed to be representing. I don't blame him though...I blame all of the people who continue to vote for him election after election. College athletics programs are supposed to be extra-curricular activities of students as they work toward obtaining a college degree. Somewhere along the line the media, clothing, and shoe manufacturers (and career politicians) turned college athletics into a business and we lost all perspective of what is most important...getting an education. Hawaii needs to stop trying to be a BCS-SEC-PAC12-wannabe and strive to be more like Harvard...where kids are rewarded for academic achievement and play sports not for the scholarship tied to their athletic performance, false sense of fame, and false hopes (for many) of a professional athletic contract with 8 digit endorsements, but because they genuine have a passion for a sport they love. Let's make the University of Hawaii accountable for what it is supposed to be, an institution of higher learning. Let the University of Hawaii worry about whether it can afford the athletic program it wants to have versus what they can afford. I also agree with other posts to this article that drinking should be banded at all UH athletic sporting events (not just at Aloha Stadium).
on January 7,2014 | 02:33PM
mcc wrote:
The $13,000,000 UH subsidized the athletic department along with Takai's $10,000,000 could help make necessary building repairs to the college.
on January 7,2014 | 03:37PM
nj24 wrote:
If Hawaii was a FULL member of the MWC in all sport like the WAC and didn't have to subsides the other teams to come and play in Hawaii. If the average athletic budget for the MWC conference was 25 million, then Hawaii athletic budget should be 50 million. Here the point I'm making using the football scheduling only. Fresno State have to fly over the Pacific every other year to play Hawaii in football. Hawaii on the other hand must fly over the Pacific at least 5 times every year; year after year to play their conference games. The travel expense is killing Hawaii and that is the major problem.
on January 7,2014 | 04:16PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Mark, from all the comments, it seems like you should withdraw from the Congressional race. Your proposal just killed any chance you had at being elected.
on January 7,2014 | 04:23PM
DAGR81 wrote:
What needs to be approved
on January 7,2014 | 04:24PM
false wrote:
I would never trust a person who uses his middle initial for his name. What do I call him, hey "K". People like that shows a need to impress, which it doesn't. He won't get my vote for Congress.
on January 7,2014 | 06:28PM
BigOpu wrote:
One time $10 million…wth? Next athletic program deficit we'll see another One Time $$ proposal. Spend the money on education.
on January 7,2014 | 06:56PM
BigE wrote:
Previous athletic debt waived by UH, now a one time $10m pill to ease the pain. Insanity check please....
on January 7,2014 | 07:08PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It's a $10 Million boost to his run for the 1st district seat in Congress. Kim would have done it, except Takai beat her to the punch. Conservative and Independent voters would probably be more inclined to vote for Djou now that we are finding out how spendthrift our Democrats are. Colleen you may have given Djou a return ticket to D.C. with your ambitions.
on January 7,2014 | 07:25PM
DAGR81 wrote:
There went his congressional aspirations...he should withdraw from the congressional race.
on January 7,2014 | 07:56PM