UH could host
MPSF tourney

Travel, an annual concern for the Hawaii men's volleyball team in the postseason, may not be an issue next year.

In addition to hosting the 2004 NCAA championship, Hawaii could also be the site of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference tournament.

Last weekend at the annual MPSF coaches meeting, the coaches voted to hold the postseason tournament in Hawaii. But that is only the first step in making the tournament happen in Hawaii.

"We're in an exploratory stage right now," MPSF commissioner Al Beaird said. "It's real preliminary. We're starting all over from the beginning again.

"First of all, we have to determine whether it's feasible from a financial standpoint for the institution. I have an executive board and they have to review and approve it. There's a whole lot of different steps it has to go through. We're hoping this summer we can spend time to explore all that. It's never a slam dunk just because the coaches vote on it."

The format of the tournament would change to include all 12 of the conference teams. There would be four rounds, with play-in matches at host sites. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship would be played at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Previously, the top eight teams were seeded into the quarterfinals, with the highest remaining seed hosting the MPSF championship after the quarterfinals.

While the coaches' vote was 10-2 in favor of the tournament, the MPSF's three-member executive committee still has the final decision.

Two years ago, a similar proposal was made but ultimately rejected. The majority of coaches agreed to have the tournament in Hawaii, but Beaird said that UH's bid was not strong enough. The committee also feared that the Warriors would be given an unfair competitive advantage.

Last weekend's meeting has Hawaii coach Mike Wilton guardedly optimistic.

"There's been a favorable vote to pursue it further and that's about it," Wilton said. "There's going to be a conference call at the end of June and then Hawaii has to make a bid. If it does get settled, one way or the other, it probably would be in the fall."

Note: Wilton said the coaches have adopted a new tape-exchange program. Before, if teams did not want to participate in a tape exchange, they were not required to trade tapes. Now two tapes can be requested from another team in the league.


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