UH athletics department to finish fiscal year in the red

The department will end the fiscal year with a $2 million deficit
The department will end the fiscal year with a $2 million deficit

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Treading water to stay afloat.

That's been the state of the University of Hawaii athletics department for more than a decade as its been running in the red for 10 of the last 12 years and that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon.

Monday marks the end of the current fiscal year and once again, UH will be ending with a $2 million deficit with total spending of more than $30 million.

Athletics director Ben Jay expects the operating budget for fiscal year 2014 to be around the $31-32 million range.

A figure that comes after cutting about a $4 million chunk, which Jay says consists of requests from coaches.

"A lot of this stuff is wish list stuff and so when you talk about that number, its really about trimming away that wish list stuff and prioritizing our real needs," Jay said.

Jay maintains growing revenue is his highest priority and he's seeking alternate sources of support, including, private fundraising, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales.

A drastic side effect of not being able to balance the budget is cutting a few programs.

He says it's not impossible to consider busting down the school's top sport.

"We'll have to possibly make the decision that I don't want to make and that is the possibility of program reduction and what it comes right down to is we have to have football in Hawaii, we have to be playing division one football," Jay said. "I can't imagine the islands being able to be happy without division one football and I think its such an identity for the state of Hawaii. We are Hawaii's team and so I think right now we have to figure out a way, but we can't do it alone."

One source of revenue the University has high hopes for is the new 'H-Zone' merchandising store at Ward Center in Kakaako.

A grand opening will be held on Tuesday.

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