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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, March 7, 2000



’Bows get publicity
that money can’t buy

BOY, you take a week off and bleep happens. Returning after a week of golfing in Manila, I see where Texas wants to pull out of its Sept. 2 football game against Hawaii and Rainbow basketball star Marquette Alexander was attacked by a fan at Fresno State.

The latter shouldn't have been too surprising. A fan got into Alexander's face last season. This time, an unruly fan's face got into the way of Alexander's fists.

What's surprising, though, is Texas not wanting to play the football Rainbows, especially on the grounds that it's too expensive a trip.

When has money been a factor with the University of Texas and its $40 million athletic budget?

Rainbow football coach June Jones calls it "hogwash." He feels his Rainbows can beat the Longhorns and Texas coach Mack Brown knows it.

Why do I have this feeling that Texas would have easily scraped up the money to fly to Hawaii if the Rainbows hadn't gone 9-4 after beating Oregon State in the Jeep Oahu Bowl.

Obviously, the Bowl Championship Series has a lot to do with Texas not wanting to "chance-um" against Hawaii, as Notre Dame also did.

It's a credit to Jones that the two football biggies have since backed off since he came aboard. In just one season, he has restored the Rainbow football program to a measure of respectability.

SO the Longhorns might have done the Rainbows a huge favor by backing out of the game. They're giving the UH football program the kind of publicity that money can't buy.

UH fans can go around proclaiming that Longhorns are too chicken to play the 'Bows. And some of Jones' comments got Longhorn fans all riled up.

"He, in a nutshell, called us p------," said one fan on the Austin American-Statesman chat line. "We are talking about my Longhorns. I say we scrap the whole idea of dropping this game and go in there and beat their Rainbow asses into submission."

"I was just trying to piss 'em off to make them come," Jones said.

Besides the highly suspect cost factor, Brown said with Hawaii, his team would be playing 11 straight weeks without a break.

"If anything, I think he's worried about the 12th game. He had a bad deal in last year's 12th game (North Carolina State), which he lost," Jones said.

THE late pullout also complicates the UH athletic department's planned ticket price increases.

One of the reasons why the football tickets were hiked was because of Texas, the blue-plate special on the 2000 schedule.

The price increase can hardly be justified now without Texas in the package. It would be OK if Texas is replaced by a comparable team.

"We would still prefer to play Texas," said athletic director Hugh Yoshida, who's scrambling to find a replacement.

Hawaii will get a $100,000 buyout from Texas. But it's nothing compared with the money the Rainbows would have collected from the $5 premium surcharge on each ticket. Based on a minimum attendance of 40,000, it would be $200,000.

But it's a small price to pay not to get blown out by the Longhorns, whose 2000 recruiting class ranks only second to Florida, according to Allen Wallace of SuperPrep.

Not to mention bragging rights for Rainbows fans, knowing Texas ducked out of its commitment.

They can crow, while the Longhorn fans only can cluck.

Remember what Alamo?



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.
bkwon@starbulletin.com



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