Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, May 1, 1999

BYU does it again
to Rainbows

CAN you dig this? Maybe spike it. Oh, how I wish I didn't have to see BYU ever again.

OK, so B-Y-U spelled B-Y-E for the University of Hawaii Rainbows again.

The Cougars have a way of saying "see ya" to the Rainbows. They sure know the art of rubbing it in when they rub you out.

When BYU defeated UH Thursday night in Provo, Utah, with a thorough three-game wipeout after Game 1 had been so tantalizing close, it marked the third time that the Cougars have ended the season for the Rainbows in men's volleyball.

Volleyball! A sport that, if any team either side of Westwood would excel in, you'd think it would be Hawaii, not BYU.

Football? OK. Basketball? I can see it. Baseball? Hey, the ball flies up there. But volleyball?

Oh, the ignominy of it all.

More so, now that BYU is headed for the NCAA final four at UCLA next week, no matter how it fares against Southern Cal in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament final today.

The ultimate grabber?

BYU will probably go on to win the national title in men's volleyball, something which UH has yet to do.

SO, maybe it was wishful thinking on my part that Thursday was the last time UH had to play BYU.

I forgot -- and was quickly corrected -- that when it comes to men's volleyball, both schools play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, not the Western Athletic Conference.

So the breakup of the WAC won't affect men's volleyball. It's a different story for Wahine volleyball, since the women are parting ways.

That means UH and BYU will continue to play in men's volleyball.

Kind of ironic, don't you think? Considering the spirited rivalry, especially in football, between the two schools over the years.

After all, in the great scheme of things in college athletics, men's volleyball will always have to play a minor role because of gender equity and Title IX.

Under the current climate of gender correctness, there's no way that the volleyball men will get more scholarships than the now allotted 4.5 as compared with 12 for women.

That's why only 22 schools compete on the Division-I level in men's volleyball, compared to 299 for women, according to the NCAA.

That's the reason why the hybrid Mountain Pacific Sports Federation exists.

Perhaps some day, there will be gender equity for men in volleyball.

Sure, and UH will beat BYU, too. For now, though, the only chance will be in men's volleyball.

IT'S too bad that men's volleyball doesn't have the opportunity to grow.

While they can't match the women in appeal -- too many one-serve, slam-bam plays instead of graceful rallies -- the men exhibit athleticism that rivals the major sports of football and basketball.

That was never more apparent than when UCLA was here last week.

One of the Bruin starters was Danny Farmer, who's considered a "big" wide receiver in football at 6-foot-4. And he could be an All-American next season.

Yet, Farmer was the smallest Bruin on the volleyball floor.

"(They're) both demanding and I like them equally," Farmer said about football and volleyball. And the Bruin volleyball team got a "free" ride in Farmer, who's on a football scholarship.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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