UH urged to craft sports travel policy


POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

A review of expenses rung up by the University of Hawaii when the Warriors traveled to New Orleans to play in the 2008 Sugar Bowl has ended with officials saying there is insufficient evidence the school violated the state's ethics code.

Daniel Mollway, executive director of the state Ethics Commission, had said the panel wanted to determine whether people with no official function traveled at the state's expense to watch the Warriors play the Georgia Bulldogs.

“;The commission concluded that the Sugar Bowl presented unique circumstances for the University of Hawaii, and that organizing the trip to New Orleans for a large contingency from Hawaii under extreme time constraints was a significant undertaking for the uni-versity,”; the commission said in a letter to Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw.

“;Because the invitation to the Sugar Bowl was a 'first' for the university, the university did not have a written policy in place that applied specifically to a postseason football event of this magnitude, which required travel to the mainland for a great number of individuals.

“;The commission found no evidence of bad faith on the part of the University of Hawaii in terms of the decisions that were made by the university concerning travel to the Sugar Bowl,”; the panel said.

The commission decided to require the university to create a formal policy concerning participation in future postseason events.

The cost of sending 550 people has been estimated as high as $2 million. The university initially refused to identify 75 of them.