Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, July 21, 2001 1


UH logo

Dobelle reverses
ticket policy

Football season ticket holders
will be able to get a refund
for the Fresno State game

By Cindy Luis

Common sense.

That's what Evan Dobelle is all about, whether it's concerning ticket refunds or renaming a baseball stadium or being in the Western Athletic Conference.

"We need policies that make sense," the new University of Hawaii president said yesterday when announcing that football season ticket holders will be able to get a refund for the Fresno State game that was moved from 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 to accommodate a national broadcast by ESPN.

Until yesterday, season ticket holders requesting a refund for a single game would have had to return their entire ticket package as well as lose seniority on the ticket list for renewals the following season.

"I have decided to suspend this practice for the UH-Fresno State game until we have an opportunity to seriously review the practice for future athletic games," said Dobelle. "Season ticket holders will have the option to request a refund for that particular game so long as they turn in the ticket no later than Sept. 18 to the UH Athletic Ticket Office."

Dobelle said he hoped to have a firm policy in place by the end of the football season. He may have to make another exception to the current policy later this season: Dobelle and Karl Benson, the Western Athletic Conference commissioner, had a phone conversation Thursday about changing another game date.

The game in question is against Air Force, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 24. There is a possibility that it would be moved to Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.

Moving the game would create a conflict at Aloha Stadium. The semifinals of the state high school football championships are scheduled for Nov. 23.

"We've got the stadium reserved," said Keith Amemiya, the executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association. "I guess it would mean that we'd have to move the semifinal doubleheader to Saturday.

"We are team players and we'll do what we can to support the UH football program. Hopefully, this is not a recurring situation. I know that (UH athletic director) Hugh Yoshida supports the high schools in this matter."

It's not the first time Amemiya has had this problem. When Iowa State pulled out from a game at the beginning of this season, UH replaced the Cyclones with Brigham Young on Dec. 1, the date reserved for the state high school football championship.

"We may have to play that on Friday," said Amemiya.

The moving of the Air Force game is not a done deal.

"There's a potential for it to happen," said Dobelle. "I would like to think that ESPN and the WAC have our best interests in mind when they do things."

Yoshida said he opposed moving a second game this season.

"We want to be flexible, but Fridays are not good for our fans," he said.

Yoshida said he was encouraged by Dobelle's comments at yesterday's news conference. The new president said he was looking at ways for the business community to help recoup anticipated lost revenue from the refunds.

"We're looking at a substantial hit economically," said Yoshida. "It's an economic issue for us at a time when we have been asked to be self-sufficient."

Yoshida estimates that the refunds could total between $100,000 and $125,000.

"It doesn't make sense not to do the refund," said Dobelle. "You don't take your very best fans, the season ticket holders, then penalize them for something that is not being done by the university but by the conference. You want to make it easy for your customers, not complicate their lives."

Dobelle addressed other issues yesterday, including a possible change of conferences.

"A change would be something that would be determined by my coaches," said Dobelle. "We want to do everything at the highest level, from academics to athletics. We want to do what's best for our teams, whether it's in the WAC, the Big West, or another conference.

"Again, that change would be after a determination by the coaches that it would be the best thing for us to do and make sense for us to do it."

One decision that makes sense is renaming Rainbow Stadium for recently retired baseball coach Les Murakami. Dobelle said he would ask the UH Board of Regents to rename the stadium for the Hall of Fame coach at their September meeting on Maui.

The current policy states that buildings, other facilities, roads and program will not be named for living individuals, and not within five years of the person's death.

Besides Rainbow Stadium being renamed for Murakami, Dobelle has recommended that the Center for Hawaiian Studies be named after regent emeritus Gladys Brandt, and the College of Arts and Science Building after Drs. Allan and Marion Saunders.

"We can't react to past politics," said Dobelle. "We need policies that make sense."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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