Frazier mulls UH’s
conference options

The Hawaii athletic director
has not ruled out leaving the WAC
if an opportunity presents itself

Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said yesterday he sees three options for UH as college sports programs across the country gird for massive conference realignment likely to begin Nov. 4.

Frazier spoke after meeting by teleconference with his seven Western Athletic Conference counterparts left in the league if Rice, Southern Methodist and Tulsa leave for Conference USA as expected in two weeks.

UTEP at Hawaii

When: Saturday, 6:05 p.m.

Where: Aloha Stadium

Tickets: $23 sideline, $18 south end zone, $10 north end zone (adult), $9 north end zone (students/seniors, age 4-high school), UH students free (super rooter only). Available at Aloha Stadium, Stan Sheriff Center, UH Campus Center and Windward Community College's OCET Office. Or call 800-944-2697 or on the Internet.

TV: KFVE (Channel 5), delay at 10 p.m., with rebroadcast Sunday at 9 a.m. Also available live on Pay-Per-View. Call 625-8100 on Oahu or (866) 566-7784 on neighbor islands to subscribe.

Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM.

Parking: Gates open at 2:30 p.m. Parking is $5. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College, Kam Drive-In and Radford High School.

Traffic advisory: 1420-AM is the official traffic advisory station and provides updates before each home game.

Bus: Roberts Hawaii School Bus will run shuttles to and from the stadium with pick-ups at six Oahu locations. Call 832-4886 for information and reservations.

"One is to remain in the WAC and see how it falls into place. Another is to listen if anybody else calls from any other conference. The third one is perhaps a new revamped conference that could be members of the Mountain West and current WAC and possibly other schools out there," he said.

Frazier said he has had discussions with many representatives of other schools and other leagues about Hawaii's possibilities, but he declined to be specific.

He said no decisions were made during yesterday's phone conference, but he said he hopes the WAC will invite schools from the west to replace the defectors.

On Monday, WAC commissioner Karl Benson identified Sun Belt schools Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, North Texas and Utah State as potential invitees.

"Our deal now is to have Karl continue to make contact with people and see who still has interest in our conference as we go forward," Frazier said.

Frazier said UH is not married to the WAC, and Hawaii's unique geography -- which many say creates problems -- can be a plus.

"I think Karl and I in one regard share the same message. And that is this institution is going to be viable wherever it is. And we will continue to compete and compete at the highest level," Frazier said.

When asked if membership in the Mountain West Conference is a possibility for Hawaii, Frazier answered by saying competition level, attendance and potential for television revenue are his three main criteria.

"Those things to me are the three biggest indicators of where we should be headed," Frazier said. "I suspect that there are some people who won't mind not having to travel all the way to Dallas. I suspect there are some people who look at geographic issues."

On another issue, Frazier said he is looking for a big-name opponent to replace Sacramento State on UH's football schedule to open next season Sept. 11 at Aloha Stadium. Hornets athletic director Terry Wanless has requested canceling the game because of finances; the cash-strapped Sacramento State program can make money with a home game, whereas a trip to Hawaii would break even at best.

"As it is with many university athletic programs we're going through a budget crisis," Wanless said in a telephone interview. "Our guarantee with Hawaii does not provide us beyond expenses. We just lost $200,000 in a budget reduction, had a $260,000 increase in scholarship costs and lost $100,000 in student fees.

"We'd love to play Hawaii. It's a great school, a great football program. But economically it's a tough time," Wanless said.

Frazier said he "understands the predicament," but also pointed out that the game contract has a clause holding Sacramento State liable for UH financial losses if it can't find a replacement opponent.

That probably won't be the case, though, since Frazier has plenty of time to find a new opponent -- he can likely land a team that will draw a bigger crowd than the Division I-AA Hornets.

"We will look and see who's out there. Obviously we will try to find an opponent before we decide to forego the current agreement," Frazier said. "Any time I have an opening I am going for BCS teams.

"The one positive is I know this early. I'm not working on this in the spring when I'm getting ready to sell tickets. With this happening in October it gives me a lot of time to make something happen," Frazier added.

Frazier had to replace Akron in a similar situation last March, and ended up with Division I-AA Appalachian State.


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