THE latest "buzz" that's delighting University of Hawaii athletic coaches from football's June Jones to softball's Bob Coolen comes as a result of a decision made by the school administration that will trim 50 percent off the school's tuition fees for California residents.
UH may get
California gold rush
No, the move wasn't done to help the athletic program, although it most certainly will.
If anything, it was done with the idea of looking for more students to help the university's declining enrollment.
"It wasn't altruistic. But it will certainly help walk-ons and athletes in the equivalency sports. Those who are paying their own freight to come here," said a member of the UH academic department.
Prior to this year, as part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, UH gave out-of-staters from 13 western states except California, a reduced non-resident tuition fee.
California is a member of the WUE program, but does not reciprocate the tuition reduction to residents of Hawaii.
So neither did the University of Hawaii. Until this year.
The savings for California students -- read athletes, if you're a sports fan -- will be significant. And, the UH athletic department hopes, it will benefit the Rainbow sports teams immensely.
The in-state tuition is approximately $3,200 for two 12-credit semesters. The out-of-state tab, which Californians previously had to pay, had been $9,600 a year.
With the recent decision, those from California will only pay 1 times the resident tuition, or $4,800.
As far as athletic scholarships are concerned, the savings might be only paper money because the reduction in tuition fees is simply a matter of bookkeeping.
But now, it'll give athletes from California a more attractive financial incentive to come here as a walk-on or to play in sports where athletic scholarships are shared, such as baseball or men's volleyball.
Certainly, they're going to think twice, especially if UH's tuition is cheaper than their California resident tuition.
Tuition is just part of a full athletic scholarship, which also consists of room and board. At UH, the latter comes to roughly $6,000, based on the current dormitory rates.
So an athletic scholarship is worth an estimated $9,200 to local players and now $10,800 to those from the 14 western states, including California. It'll remain about $16,000 for athletes from the other states.
A lot of money? Sure. But UH still ranks among the have-nots of college sports, especially in football.
NO one's more aware of that quantum leap than former Rainbow Buzzy Preston, now an assistant coach at Stanford. Preston was in town recently with his wife, Audrey, and their three children, visiting her parents.
Buzzy played two seasons (1978-79) for Dick Tomey and was his volunteer assistant before going to Washington State as an assistant for four years.
Preston spent the 1998 season at UNLV and then joined the Stanford staff last season.
The move to Stanford was an eye-opening experience for him. Talk about a big-time athletic program.
The football team travels by charter with an open seat between each player.
As for recruiting, it's easy and it's hard, according to Preston, who covers Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Easy, because you have blue-chip athletes eager to attend Stanford and you just scan their transcripts. Hard, if their SAT isn't 1100 or their GPA isn't around 3.2.
The worth of a Stanford athletic scholarship? Oh, $33,000 and an experience that's priceless, says Preston.