UH to receive 1,000 extra Sugar Bowl tickets
» Team assistant with disability packing for Big Easy
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The University of Hawaii is getting another allotment of Allstate Sugar Bowl tickets, as UH officials scramble to recover from underestimating the demand from Warrior fans.
Sugar Bowl officials are sending another 1,000 tickets for UH to sell to season-ticket holders on the waiting list, the university announced yesterday. That is in addition to the 500 tickets provided by Sugar Bowl officials on Friday. The 1,500 total covers the number of tickets requested by 352 season-ticket holders on UH's waiting list.
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The University of Hawaii will receive another 1,000 tickets from the Allstate Sugar Bowl to accommodate season-ticket holders on the waiting list.
Added to the 500 extra tickets UH received from the Sugar Bowl on Friday, the amount covers the number of tickets requested by season-ticket holders on the list.
The ticket office is calling the 352 season-ticket holders on the list in the order in which their request was received, according to Derek Inouchi, media relations director for UH's athletic department. Officials request that season-ticket holders on the waiting list refrain from calling the athletic department regarding their status.
"The additional tickets should accommodate most or all of the season-ticket holders currently on the waiting list," said athletic director Herman Frazier yesterday at a news release. "The demand for tickets has been incredible, and we thank our season-ticket holders for their patience and the Allstate Sugar Bowl for working with us to acquire additional seats."
The athletic department had underestimated that demand last week, agreeing to accept only 13,500 of its initial allotment of 17,500 tickets for the Jan. 1 game in New Orleans. The remaining 4,000 tickets were made available to University of Georgia fans.
The decision enraged many Warrior fans who were unable to buy tickets for the Jan. 1 game in New Orleans between No. 10 Hawaii and No. 4 Georgia.
Inouchi said yesterday they do not have information on where the 1,000 seats are located within the Louisiana Superdome because they have yet to receive the tickets. Calls made to the Sugar Bowl were not returned. Inouchi said they expect to receive the tickets within a few days.
After the ticket office contacts all season-ticket holders on the waiting list, UH might begin another waiting list solely for season-ticket holders who were unable to purchase tickets, Inouchi said. If more tickets become available, they would be allocated through a lottery, he said.
UH will post an announcement on HawaiiAthletics.com if a second waiting list is established, Inouchi added.
On Wednesday, UH capped its first waiting list for season-ticket holders after 8,500 tickets sold out in two days. About 3,000 tickets were put on reserve for team and university use. About 1,500 tickets were set aside for travel packages, and 500 tickets were set aside for corporate sponsors.
About 1,000 of the 3,000 tickets are set aside for university use, according to UH spokesman Gregg Takayama.
Takayama said they are continuing to work on a list of those who will represent UH at the Sugar Bowl. "We hope to have it done in the next few days," he said.
Team assistant with disability packing for Big Easy
Brian Kajiyama, a lifelong University of Hawaii football fan, achieved his dream of becoming a member of the team last spring when he became a graduate assistant for the Warriors.
But despite his hard work this winning season, he has never accompanied the team on an away game.
Kajiyama, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair, will make his first journey with the team when the No. 10 Warriors travel to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl against No. 4 University of Georgia on Jan. 1.
Last week, Carl Clapp, associate athletic director for administrative services, offered an invitation to Kajiyama and his parents to attend the game at the Louisiana Superdome.
"Life was sweet, but just got even sweeter," wrote Kajiyama, 31, in an e-mail to the Star-Bulletin. Kajiyama, one of two graduate assistants for the team, is also a UH doctoral student in special education. To communicate, he must use a computer that turns text into speech.
The university has arranged to have a wheelchair-accessible room and bus so Kajiyama can travel with the team in New Orleans.
He does not know whether he will be allowed on the field during the game at the Superdome. At Aloha Stadium he is allowed on the field only before and after the game, apparently for safety reasons.
Kajiyama's duties for the team involve putting together the scouting report for each opponent for the defensive staff and editing coaching video. He said he did not travel with the team this season because he was more helpful in Honolulu, preparing material for the next opponent.
"I felt that this worked out for the best, as I was able to focus on my academics and help get things prepared for our next game," he wrote.
Before Kajiyama was invited to the game last week, UH defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold, a friend of Kajiyama's, expressed concern that the assistant could get left behind.
"He contributed to this 12-0 season," he said. "He had a big part in this whole magical season."
He added, "It's always an issue whenever you've got the reality of being in a chair. There are certain things that are very difficult for Brian to be a part of just from a logistical standpoint."
For example, he knows Brian would like to ride on the team's bus to Aloha Stadium.
"He's never come out and made a big thing about it," he said. "I know for certain that would be a big deal to him."
Kajiyama agrees but does not want to be a distraction.
"Sometimes being a part of a team requires sacrificing personal wants for the greater good of the team," he wrote. "That's all I'll say about this."
But he hopes his experience in New Orleans will encourage employers to provide better accommodations for people with disabilities.
"At times, people view accommodations as being something that will cost more or will involve tons of extra work," he said. "This is not the case. ... These accommodations just need to be requested."
Reinebold and Kajiyama often hang out off the practice field.
"Stuff that we take for granted in our day-to-day lives, they become hurdles for people with disabilities," he said. "We owe it to those with disabilities to try and make those hurdles low hurdles instead of high hurdles."
Kajiyama's presence at the Sugar Bowl will serve as an inspiration for young people with disabilities everywhere, he added. Indeed, Kajiyama has already been nominated for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award for a person in college football who displays courage on or off the field. The award will be announced this month.
"This is not a fairy tale," Reinebold said. "You can do this. You can become a contributing part of a top-10 football team and so many other things if you just dream enough and chase your dreams.
"Now when we go to the Sugar Bowl and people will see Brian and see just what a great person he is ... and what a great job he does for this football team, I think that can serve as an inspiration for young people who have disabilities everywhere."