Sideline seats or the nose bleeds? That's the question.
U.H. students and administrators are at odds tonight. Over which seats students should get at athletic events as compensation for a recently imposed student activities fee.
The one thing both sides agree on is that student attendance is important to U.H. sports.
U.H. Athletics Director Jim Donovan says, "They create a great environment. Really helps our teams win."
ASUH President Andrew Itsuno says, "It's a synergy between athletes and the fans and it creates a huge atmosphere. …a really really great place to go to see games."
But there's disagreement over where to seat students.
In January, the university began collecting 50 dollars per semester from every student.
It's called an activities fee.
Donovan says the new fee generates about 1.6 million dollars for the athletic department. In return students get free tickets for every home game: 515 in the Stan Sheriff Center and 5,000 for football games at Aloha Stadium.
Donovan says the university is proposing about a third of the football seats be at the bottom of the orange section along the mauka sideline. The rest would be in the north end zone. Some down near the band and others up near the roof.
Itsuno explains, "We want to be closer to the athletes to be able to see them, to be able cheer for them. A lot of the seats that we're getting are a lot higher up, so there's no direct connection between the students and the athletes."
Itsuno makes the same complaint about seats at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The areas shaded green are for students. F and G in the lower bowl. L, M, and N are up high.
Donovan thinks it's a fair deal and what he won't do is displace large groups of season ticket holders from revenue generating seats. He elaborates, "We never visualized that we were going to be moving the students into sections where 90 / 95 percent plus are already sold to season ticket holders. That wasn't in our intention. That wasn't part of our original plan and i don't think that is reality. I don't think that is going to happen."
Itsuno explained, "We're not asking for all the prime seating. What we're asking for is athletics to try a little bit harder to engage students in the game."
The two sides are still negotiating, but ultimately it's the administration that'll decide which seats the students get.