Tuesday, March 7, 2000
Looking for a team to replaceBy Dave Reardon
Texas has left the UH football
team in limbo
Whether the Texas-Hawaii football game scheduled for Sept. 2 at Aloha Stadium will happen is still anyone's guess.
But this is certain: If the Longhorns do pull out of the season-opener with the Rainbows, it won't be Michigan State that replaces Texas.
"We talked to them and they got back to us and said they can't this year," Hawaii associate athletic director Jim Donovan said yesterday of the Spartans. "But we've begun a regular negotiation process for a possible future date."
Texas, which has cited unexpected travel expenses in its desire to cancel its game with Hawaii, would have to pay a $100,000 fee to UH if it does.
Texas and Hawaii officials are trying to find a replacement team for the Longhorns. The only name besides Michigan State which has come up is Alabama-Birmingham.
Donovan said he is in contact with teams from the Pac-10, Big 12, Conference USA and Southeastern Conferences. Donovan would not name specific schools, but said several of them are as big-name as Texas.
"It's hard, because it's, 'If this happens are you interested?' We're sort of in limbo, but some schools are calling us," Donovan said. "The administrators have to check with their coaches."
Meanwhile, UH coach June Jones fired another salvo at Texas.
Jones spoke yesterday to the Honolulu Quarterback Club, with television cameras rolling.
"All I know is they said they (might not be) coming so far," Jones said. "But if they do, we're going to try to kick their ass."
This came three days after Jones -- who admitted yesterday to trying to goad the Longhorns into playing the game -- made other comments accusing Texas of attempting to dodge a potential loss.
"I've never known a Texan to back down from a fight before," Jones said. "I guess their coach isn't from Texas."
Longhorns' coach Mack Brown was presented with Jones' earlier comments yesterday.
"I don't know June," Brown said.
"Any comment that childish I'm not going to respond to," he added.
As of last night, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds still had not spoken directly with Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida, after repeated calls from Yoshida last week.
"They were supposed to call today and let us know if they were going to play the game," Donovan said. "(UT Associate Athletic Director) Butch Worley said that DeLoss Dodds would call Hugh in Fresno (today) and talk about the situation."
Yoshida was on his way to the Western Athletic Conference basketball championships last night. He denied a rumor that Texas had offered to play UH on Thursday instead of Saturday, with UH balking.
"Playing Thursday night was never brought up," Yoshida said. "If it was, we would have considered it."
Speculation continued that the Longhorns are not as concerned about finances as its Bowl Championship Series rating.
"I used to recruit Texas. For them to use money as an excuse ... that's a joke," said Kevin Lempa, UH's new defensive coordinator.
"(BCS) could be a factor. Teams are so cautious now with scheduling, especially early in the season. They want to build up a strong record, especially early," Lempa said.
"(Texas) is a top 15 team, and people in Texas think this could be their year for a national championship team."
Jones remained optimistic that the Rainbows would play the Longhorns.
"I've never really heard of this happening, so it's kind of out of left field for me," Jones said. "In the conversations last week they never said they weren't coming. It's purely my opinion that I think they will come."
Ka Leo O Hawaii