Facilities must become a priority at UH for winning to remain 1
The facilities at the University of Hawaii are not good. They never have been and probably won't be when compared to the upper echelon of Division I.
Some of the orchestrated stories that have been written and broadcast locally and nationally on this subject, including the closing comments heard on ESPN2 during the Boise State game, are attempts to remedy that situation because no other approach works.
Crisis management is the style most used in this local government. If you've lived here for more than a couple of months, you're reminded of it every day. It takes a clogged artery like H-1 to get any funding for mass transportation. Officials have to dump millions of gallons of sewage near Waikiki because the infrastructure has been virtually ignored.
So it stands to reason that tattered and torn Cooke Field and unfinished business in the athletic department building aren't high on the to-do list of a university in desperate need of a makeover.
In a perfect world where politicians and educators could walk on opposite sides of the street you'd have a legislature that reviews the requests of those running higher education and then provides the proper funding to ensure that university is a shining example in the island chain.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead, you have drawn-out hearings involving athletic department officials and members of the state Legislature that remind everyone just how dysfunctional the system is and what a waste of time these get-togethers turn out to be.
UH ambassador Colt Brennan can do more with a quip or two than any lengthy discussion involving well-intentioned adults. When UH had to postpone practice on Wednesday because of rain, Brennan made a lighthearted remark about Hawaii not having an indoor facility to retire to in order to prepare properly for the most important game in school history.
The Warriors improvised by having a closed practice at Aloha Stadium that evening, but this only highlights that the system is broken and needs to be fixed if Hawaii is to become a consistent WAC power like rival Boise State.
EVERYONE KNOWS how important tomorrow's game with Washington is for a mid-major school trying to compete at an executive level. The Huskies are a prominent member of the Pac-10, where money flows as freely as the Ala Wai Canal in the rainy season. The fact Hawaii is a two-touchdown favorite is remarkable. This big game not only reflects all the hard work of the coaches and players, but shows how much the Warriors had to overcome to be in a position to receive a BCS bid and the millions of dollars that go with it.
Head coach June Jones made a telling comment when he said kids didn't commit to the Warriors because of facilities. But you can bet more would if the carpet at Cooke Field were in place, the rooms in the athletic department building were completed and the lockers had a fresh coat of paint.
No one expects Hawaii to have the same facilities as say an upper-echelon program like Washington. But being top drawer in the WAC isn't asking that much. Perhaps it would allow Hawaii to play in a big game more than once every 15 years.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org