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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, March 14, 2000

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

UH Rainbow Football

UNLV to replace
Texas on UH

The Hawaii football team
will play the Rebels in the
season finale on Dec. 2

By Paul Arnett


It has been nearly two years since University of Hawaii president Ken Mortimer uttered the words, "We're through with those teams."

He was speaking of his former Western Athletic Conference colleagues who had decided to go their own way and form the more marketable Mountain West.

Among the breakaway eight was Nevada-Las Vegas, a team department officials wanted to keep on the schedule, partly for the profitable Sam Boyd Group connection athletic director Hugh Yoshida had cultivated the past few years.

Mortimer held his ground for a while, but much like former President Bush, who once said, "Read my lips, no new taxes," then went out and raised them, Mortimer has seemingly changed his tune regarding the Mountain West Conference.

Yoshida took advantage of that cooling-off period by signing the Rebels to a Dec. 2 nonconference game that will end the 2000 regular season.

Tentatively, Hawaii will complete the home-and-home with a meeting at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl on Sept. 20, 2003.

This game fills the hole created by the University of Texas after the Longhorns decided to back out of their scheduled Sept. 2 opener with Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.

Because the Rebels aren't considered a comparable opponent to the Longhorns, Texas officials will have to pay a $100,000 buyout fee.

This should help offset the loss of not being able to charge a $5 premium fee for the Texas game. Had the Rainbows managed to sell out the opener, that premium would have generated an additional $250,000.

Hawaii's opener will now be on Sept. 9 against Portland State. The Rainbows then have a week off to prepare for their conference opener at Texas-El Paso.

"We'll probably have to change the dates of our fall camp and start a little later than we had planned," UH head coach June Jones said yesterday upon learning that UNLV will replace Texas. "I think you're given a certain amount of practice days before your season-opener.

"Once I had heard Texas was not coming back, I called (UNLV head coach) John Robinson and spoke to him about playing a game. He wanted to do it and so did I. I think it's a good match for us."

Two years ago, UNLV and Hawaii were running neck-and-neck for the nation's longest losing streak in Division I football. Robinson and Jones returned a measure of respectability to the two programs.

Early on, Robinson was contacted about the UH opening after former head coach Fred vonAppen was fired, but opted to pursue the UNLV job, instead.

With UNLV at the end of the schedule, Hawaii will play five of its last six games at home. Yoshida was glad to get the game nailed down quickly because the Rainbows are sending out season-ticket renewals soon.

"We feel very fortunate to have filled the vacancy on our schedule at such a late date," Yoshida said. "I think UNLV is a nice fit because we have a large presence in Las Vegas.

"It's also convenient for our fans in the Southern California area to attend the game."

And it may not end there. Had Brigham Young University not had a 12th game already scheduled, it's likely the Cougars would have been given some consideration, possibly opening the door for BYU to return here sometime this decade.

"I'm hoping for that to happen because those are some of our better rivals," Jones said. "Maybe this will open the door for BYU and San Diego State."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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