The Pac-12 Conference CEO group today announced its teams will only play in-conference competition this fall in football, women’s volleyball and women’s soccer, a major blow to University of Hawaii athletics.
The Rainbow Warrior football team had been scheduled to play three Pac-12 teams in its first four games — Aug. 29 at Arizona, Sept. 5 against UCLA at Aloha Stadium and Sept. 19 at Oregon.
“Obviously with three Pac-12 teams on our football schedule, today’s decision affects us more than others,” UH Athletics Director David Matlin said. “We are disappointed because not only were we looking forward to opening the season at Arizona, we were excited to host UCLA for the first time in over 80 years and renew a series with Oregon. However the decision was made in the best interest of student-athlete health and wellness and we support that and will move on accordingly with the rest of our schedule.”
Earlier this week, Fordham University of the Patriot League announced it was canceling a Sept. 12 game against UH at Aloha Stadium. UH was attempting to secure a replacement for Fordham when the Pac-12 made its announcement.
The Rainbow Wahine volleyball and soccer schedules have yet to be announced but those teams regularly play Pac-12 teams also.
UH football competes in the Mountain West Conference while volleyball and soccer are in the Big West.
For football, that means the apparent loss of $400,000 to play at Arizona and $1 million for the game at Oregon. The UCLA appearance was the most attractive game of UH’s home schedule and was to have marked the Bruins first visit here since 1939.
The Pac-12 move came on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that the Big Ten Conference will play only in-conference games this fall.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities.