The University of Hawaii steps down an NCAA level against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent tonight, but rest assured it is not taking Charleston Southern cheap.
Especially not in the accounting office.
Not with UH providing the Buccaneers with an expenses-paid trip here from the East Coast, picking up the tab for airfare, hotels and buses, plus $15,000 for meals and incidentals and, as a parting gift, a $125,000 check due in the mail "immediately upon the completion of the event."
Regardless of what the new Aloha Stadium scoreboard might say at night’s end, CSU will be a big winner.
CSU’s deal, valued at upwards of $250,000, is, in some ways, as good as nationally ranked Wisconsin got in 2005 and was originally contracted to get last year. It is on a par with what Navy received last year with a bigger traveling party.
UH underwriting of Charleston Southern’s trip
Source: University of Hawaii
Not only is UH contracted to provide the buses to take the Buccaneers to and from the airport, practices and games, but, according to the contract, "Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay and possible luau," too.
Presumably the Buccaneers are on their own for souvenir T-shirts and sunscreen.
Yes, the Buccaneers got the deluxe tour package at bargain rates. A-l-o-h-a, indeed.
You feel like the least the Buccaneers can do is send former UH athletic director Herman Frazier a postcard in Philadelphia for making it all possible. Though they might wish to skip adding, "having a great time, wish you were here."
It was Frazier’s vulnerability — and the acumen of his opposite number, CSU athletic director Hank Small, in making use of the leverage — that made this trip possible.
Or, as Small has put it, "They were motivated — and so were we."
You may recall that Frazier had lollygagged on putting the 2007 football schedule together and then suffered some reversals. At one point he was looking at three openings on a 13-game schedule with less than seven months before the kickoff of Colt Brennan’s much-anticipated senior season.
The Buccaneers called with an interest and were willing to take him off the hook for one of those games — but at a price. Small gave him the 2007 game, but not before getting the very favorable financial terms plus what UH hasn’t given any other FCS opponent in a quarter-century, a second game and at the guarantee of the same or better rates.
Northern Colorado, another FCS team, filled a second puka in 2007, but unable to find a final FBS foe, UH settled for the 12-game regular season.
Originally, UH and CSU were contracted to meet in 2011, but such is the escalating price of airfare and hotels amid deficit concerns that Frazier’s successor, Jim Donovan, wanted to get the financial obligation off the books sooner rather than later.
To save money, UH says future FCS opponents will be from west of the Mississippi, if not the west coast, such as UC Davis next year.
Commendably, the CSU administration and coaches make a point of using at least one trip a year as an educational experience, with the players taking in Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty in New York, for example.
The educational value in this one, in addition to the historical and cultural experiences, is in how to apply leverage in business.