Let the numbers speak for themselves
If you didn't know any better, you'd think certain media outlets around town actually believe people care about the athletic department's budget.
They don't. Not really.
But despite that fact, a steady bombardment of stories and broadcasts have inundated us the past couple of months. Some folks feel that we need a constant update of what the projected numbers are for the 2008-09 fiscal season. They want transparency. They demand full access, full disclosure; turn those cards over, bubba, show us what you got. And if you don't, we just might sue you for good measure.
These same folks somehow got it into their heads that we should be able to walk up to the nearest ATM machine, anywhere, anytime to see what today's projections are for the coming campaign.
"Let's see now, the latest figures are a projected deficit of $1.7643928438 million. Now, if mom and dad buy their season-ticket package, that includes the 65 percent discount for the pay-per-view road show that used to be free, it should lower the deficit by 0.000001 percent."
Can't you hear Austin Powers' pleas for "Nooo more, noooo more" every time you see, hear or read athletic department and projected budget in the same sentence? If we needed another business department, we would have asked for one.
We didn't. This is sports.
Now, I understand why Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan wants to hit the campaign trail hard and point out that despite the greatest windfall in UH history, they're broke - and please, no more comments about how the previous regime blah, blah, blah, BLAH! - it's enough to make you cancel your pay-per-view subscription that's costing us down here at the office, mmmm, $380 bucks! Are you kidding me?
WOULDN'T BIG JIM'S time be better spent hunched over spread sheets like the Jetsons' Mr. Spacely counting sprockets to make sure he squeezes every red cent out of every greenback that passes his way over the next 12 months? And not explaining to us for the 50th time how he plans to do something no one before him as been able to do.
Keep the peace.
Donovan has a monumental task of balancing books that seemingly can't be balanced given what is being asked of him in an ever-tightening economy that doesn't always work well with gender equity issues. Let's face it, there won't be any BCS bucks passing by Donovan's desk come June. And that alone is a sobering thought.
The problems that faced Herman Frazier and Hugh Yoshida and Stan Sheriff before him - that the business model is wobbly and in need of legal tender - aren't going anywhere and are only compounded given the skyrocketing cost of flying from here to there and back again.
But that doesn't mean we want to be constantly reminded about it like a United Way thermometer pledge posted outside the head man's office.
We don't. Not at all.
What we do want is for him to handle his business the best way he can, with the aid of his staff, and in a way that doesn't draw attention to itself. Bill Russell once said that you know the referees are doing a good job when you don't notice them. The same applies here.
It's time to focus more on the future and try to learn from mistakes made in the past in a quiet and dignified manner. The English department budget isn't getting any headlines, so - but wait. This just in. WAC writes Hawaii $4.9 million check. Banner headline.
That's kind of like Gannett stock hits 52-week low, don't you think?
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org