Ferd's Words ‘Bounty’ games might be a fixture in UH’s future By Ferd Lewis April 4, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. When the University of Hawaii football team travels to Ohio State and Wisconsin in September, it might be a preview of things to come for men’s basketball. Not expeditions to Columbus, Ohio, and Madison, Wis., exactly, but playing in hostile arenas of marquee opponents who are willing to deposit fat checks into UH’s thin bank account. As incoming athletic director David Matlin looks for creative ways to both pay a new coach and improve revenue while raising the strength-of-schedule index, so-called "bounty" or "guarantee" games are emerging as a likelihood, if not a necessity. They are the kind of hard-earned but lucrative paydays of which men’s basketball has barely scratched the surface. Two seasons ago UH received a $50,000 check for a neutral-site game against Missouri and this past season the Rainbow Warriors got $45,000 for a neutral-site appearance against Brigham Young. Many of UH’s Big West Conference brethren have taken deeper, more frequent and more lucrative plunges, going into McKale Memorial Center to play Arizona, the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse and the KFC Yum! Center to play Louisville for $75,000 to $100,000. Playing at both Ohio State and Wisconsin in the space of three weeks in a 13-game football season devoid of open dates is a bit much, even for the $2.3 million total. But in basketball, where you have a 32-game regular season, playing a couple is a different ballgame, especially in these austere times. Not only is Matlin tasked to whittle mounting athletic department deficits, but there is the necessity of hiring a new coach within financial parameters that make sense. The last budgetary model, one that paid Gib Arnold $344,000 annually plus generous bonuses, derisively known as "layups," was symptomatic of the fiscal foolishness that has contributed to the deficits. The overall salary package for head coach, three assistants and a director of operations ran about $720,000, without benefits, a hefty tab for a program bringing in $956,000 in ticket revenue. UH was paying the highest base salary in the Big West despite the fact some coaches have multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and the conference average was approximately $215,000. What the new coach’s salary at UH will be remains to be seen and will likely be driven by whether it is a sitting Division I head coach or an up-an-coming assistant who gets the nod. But one way to help pay for it will be "bounty" games. Some low and mid-major schools earmark a percentage of the check — after travel expenses — directly toward coaching salaries. If you are UH, with a sagging strength of schedule these past few years, they are also a way to enhance the important Rating Percentage Index, the number that selection committees use to evaluate candidates for the awarding of at-large NCAA and National Invitation Tournament berths. Especially if you make room for them by bumping a Division II opponent or pastries like Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Southern or Prairie View A&M. Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4820. Previous Story Despite 3-year deal, Shoji not sure he’ll stay to the end Next Story Mariota's highlights, humor part of 'Gruden's QB Camp'