Delayed WAC schedules block Lakers' return


POSTED: Saturday, May 02, 2009

The absence of the Los Angeles Lakers training camp from the Stan Sheriff Center's schedule this fall will cost the Hawaii athletic department a chance to bring in some extra cash.

The Lakers' run of biennial visits to Honolulu for training camp would have brought the team back to the islands this fall. But a domino effect stemming from the delay in finalizing the Western Athletic Conference football schedule contributed to the Lakers electing to stay in Southern California for training camp this year.

The Lakers paid rent to the athletic department for use of the Stan Sheriff Center for practices and two exhibition games, while keeping the gate receipts. The UH athletic department received $75,000 from the Lakers' last visit in 2007. The Lakers paid $52,000 in rental fees, with the rest coming in ticket fees.

The Lakers contacted UH officials to try to secure dates for preseason games at the Sheriff Center. But with the WAC football schedule not complete, the women's volleyball schedule was also on hold to avoid conflicts. Therefore, UH couldn't guarantee dates for the Lakers.

The football schedule was released on March 31, but by then “;they couldn't wait any longer,”; UH athletic director Jim Donovan said. The Rainbow Wahine volleyball schedule was released this week.

The Lakers practiced at both 'Iolani School and the Sheriff Center during their last visit.

Along with playing at the Staples Center, the Lakers have scheduled preseason games in Anaheim, Calif.; Ontario, Calif.; Las Vegas and San Diego.

“;They told us they definitely want to come back,”; Donovan said.