By Fred Guzman
For better, or worse, this $2 million a year decision was a done deal. By a vote of 11-3 yesterday, the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents approved a proposal charging each student $50 a semester to help balance the athletic department budget.
It was a big win for UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, who lobbied diligently for the proposal. And it was even bigger victory for Athletic Director Jim Donovan, whose cash-strapped department is projecting a $ 2 million shortfall for the recently ended fiscal year. The department’s current total deficit stands at about $10.1 million.
There was strong opposition to the fee expressed by some student government leaders, but the need to offset a rising tide of red ink easily won over the regents. So, as one critic noted, the athletic department will now be able to pay the students back with the students’ money.
Others take another view, noting the benefits of athletics as a rallying point and a marketing tool for the university, while further reminding critics that the other eight members of the Western Athletic Conference already had such a fee in place.
The fee kicks in with the spring 2011 semester, and part of the benefits include free student tickets to athletic events. It remains to be seen if the freebies will significantly increase the number of students at a largely commuter campus who actually attend games.
NA KOA WINS: Na Koa Ikaika opened up the second half of the Golden Baseball League season with a 5-0 win over the Tucson Toros last night at Iron Maehara Stadium.
Leading the way was left-hander Donald Brandt, who scattered four hits over seven innings, registering seven strikeouts and walking one while improving his record to 7-0.
It was a 0-0 game until Maui’s Phil Alvas hammered a solo home run and Rex Rundgren followed with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh. Mark Okano sealed the deal with a three-run shot in the eighth. GBL All-Star Gered Mochizuki contributed a pair of doubles.
The six-game series continues tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35. You can follow the action on Maui’s ESPN 550 or on espn550.com.
PHILS LOSE: Shane Victorino went 2-for-5, scored a run and drove in another. But his efforts were again not enough as the Phillies continued to struggle, suffering a 12-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The two-time defending National League champs are currently in third place and trail Atlanta by 5.5 games in the NL East.
Kurt Suzuki’s Oakland Athletics and Kanekoa Texeira’s Kansas City Royals were both idle as Major League Baseball featured a limited schedule on the first day back after the All-Star break.