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Hawaii AD: Football could be 'going away' due to budget issues


Training camp is supposed to be a time when football programs are in high spirits, optimistic about the upcoming season. One would think that might be especially true at a program like Hawaii given its locale.

Things are not so rosy out on the islands, however. According to local station KITV, the school's athletic director says things are so dire financially with the program that there's a possibility that the NFL's Pro Bowl will be the only football being played in Hawaii in the future.

"There's a very real possibility of football going away," AD Ben Jay told the station at a Board of Regents meeting Monday afternoon.

The report also states that Jay said the department is looking at a $2.1 million deficit this year and has operated in the red 11 of the past 13 years.

That's not good for anybody, much less at a Hawaii program that made a BCS bowl not too long ago.

The Rainbow Warriors are a football-only member of the Mountain West and do not receive revenue through the conference's television deal. Instead, the school reportedly cut a new rights deal for nearly $2.3 million a year with a local venture, but it appears that offers only a slice of what the school needs to stay afloat.

Complicating matters when it comes to budgeting, attendance for football games is down noticeably as the team is in the middle of a 3-20 run under second-year head coach Norm Chow. Given increased travel demands to the mainland for football and other non-revenue sports, one can see how making things work can be difficult.

"We're going to have to generate more revenue," Jay told Hawaii News Now last week. "There's no doubt about that. We've always had to do that. People want to support football and basketball and baseball and all of our other sports, so it's going to come down to how are we going to get that support financially from our fan base and from all the folks who love UH athletics."

There's been plenty of talk in recent months about just how much money is flowing to college athletics programs, but it appears that is certainly not the case at Hawaii. As a result, football could be on the chopping block.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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