Review of UH athletics budget requested
State auditor Marion Higa received a request this month from Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea, Pearl City) to review the University of Hawaii athletic department's budget.
Higa said she does not know yet if a formal audit will be done by her office. If that does happen, it won't be until 2008, she said.
"(Takai) did drop off some material for us to look at," Higa said. "I've taken a quick look at it. It's got to be in the queue (behind other matters)."
Audits of state agencies are often brought forth by legislative action.
"We also have the authority to initiate our own audit," Higa said. "This could be done, but we're solid through December with other work."
UH reported a surplus of $7,483 for the 2005-06 fiscal year. However, the department remains $4.2 million in the red after four consecutive years of deficits immediately prior. Athletic director Herman Frazier announced a five-year plan in 2004 to balance the budget.
State legislators questioned Frazier and other UH officials at a May 22 informational briefing at the Capitol. The budget, UH's incomplete football schedule, fundraising and facilities were discussed.
"One of my main concerns at this point is the budget," Takai said in a June 15 meeting with Star-Bulletin editors and reporters.
Frazier was on the mainland on UH business yesterday and unavailable for comment. Other UH athletic department officials declined comment yesterday on the possibility of a state audit. The department's budget is audited each year by an independent private firm.
"I thought it was interesting," Higa said of her first look at material from Takai, compiled from UH financial statements. "(The issue is) certainly well publicized, and the information is available to the public."
Takai said he has several unanswered questions about UH's budget and accounting practices, including a $2,088,000 item in 2006 listed as "Cash overdraft due to University." He also questions if $2,548,000 in restricted nonexpendable assets is being counted as revenue, and if it should be.
Takai is on National Guard temporary active duty and therefore cannot currently comment on state matters.