MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With three weeks remaining in the fiscal year the University of Hawaii athletic department is staring at a two-million dollar deficit.
As athletic director Ben Jay gets his receipts in order, he's also busy trying to figure out how to divide and conquer the universities $30-million athletic budget that he'd like to increase by $10-million.
"There's not much to scale back on here." Jay says. "I mean, we're running a bare bones operation here."
One area that offers the least available meat is the cost of recruiting.
In 2012-2013 Hawaii spent upwards of $658,759 on both men and women's recruiting budgets.
By contrast, in that same year the University of Auburn led the nation with a recruiting budget of $2,796,184.
The highest budget in the Mountain West was Air Force with $1,168,387 spent. San Jose State rounded out the 12-team conference at $415,517 spent.
Not long after his arrival Jay estimates he increased Hawaii's recruiting budget by between 10-15-percent.
With each football recruiting trip costing roughly $2,500, Jay is searching for a way to stay competitive with the top-five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) who are on the verge of changing not just the landscape of college football, but also the distribution of benefits and funds to pending recruits.
"If I'm a school on the mainland, I can offer 50 kids an official visit." says Jay.
"But because of the cost it takes to fly somebody here, to Hawaii, football is probably limited to 22-23 trips. Because of the cost of that recruit visit, football has to be very particular of who they bring in on recruiting visits."
The University of Hawaii's budget closes June 30th.
LIST OF RECRUITING BUDGETS FOR MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE TEAMS
(Listed highest to lowest)
Air Force $1,168,387
Colorado St. $933,372
New Mexico $643,258
San Diego State $536,224
Utah St. $531,737
Boise St. $446,068
Fresno St. $408,090
San Jose St. $415,517