UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
UH, WAC football schedules still not done
The Warriors and ESPN are holding up the league slate
Anyone holding his breath for the 2007 Western Athletic Conference football schedule -- which includes Hawaii's slate -- better have very strong lungs.
"Until we finalize the ESPN schedule we can't finish the WAC conference schedule," league commissioner Karl Benson said yesterday. "I don't think we're very close."
Benson said the WAC is waiting for information about nonconference games from Hawaii and one other conference school. ESPN is involved because it wants to televise some of the Warriors and Broncos games.
When asked if the schedule might be done by the end of this week, Benson said it is "possible."
UH officials had said the Warriors schedule would be announced this week, as early as today. But athletic director Herman Frazier was not expected to return until late today from a personal-reasons visit to his hometown of Philadelphia.
One nonconference game might be against Charleston Southern, a Division I-AA school in South Carolina. Charleston Southern would replace Eastern Washington, with which a deal could not be finalized after EWU officials said last month it was all but done.
Charleston Southern coach Jay Mills wouldn't confirm anything when contacted by phone yesterday. But he definitely implied a game is in the works with UH.
"All those announcements have to go through Herman Frazier at the University of Hawaii," said Mills, when asked when Charleston Southern's game at Hawaii would be played.
Frazier declined comment.
UH coach June Jones said he'd heard "through the grapevine" that the Warriors schedule, at least of nonconference games, would be released today. Only two such games -- at UNLV on Sept. 15 and at home against Washington on Dec. 1 -- of a possible five have been announced.
Jones said yesterday he didn't know of a game with Charleston Southern.
He said he would have liked all nonconference games to be at home this season, to take advantage of the return of record-breaking quarterback Colt Brennan, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
"We should have nine home games," Jones said. "Hopefully they would've been nine sellouts."
Frazier, speaking last month after Brennan's announcement he would not turn pro this year, agreed with that sentiment. But more recently the AD said a road game is in the works.
Associate athletic director John McNamara said a plan featuring a "new approach" is in place to sell season tickets as soon as the schedule is announced.
"The slingshot is pulled back. We just need the rock," McNamara said. "We want to give people a chance to throw their hats in the ring sooner than in the past."
McNamara, who previously worked in TV scheduling at the WAC and Conference USA offices, said this year's late scheduling by the WAC is a by-product of success.
Some teams are hesitant to schedule top teams from mid-major conferences -- or honor previous agreements to do so, such as Michigan State, which has pulled itself off Hawaii's 2007 slate.
"If we were coming off a 5-7 season, the schedule would've been set long ago," McNamara said. "Louisville was always the last to be done, because opponents would back out. Then you have ESPN in the mix wanting to change dates, and you end up with a wall that looks like something George Patton drew up."