Bill would create UH Athletics Board of Governors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Bill would create UH Athletics Board of Governors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Would it be oversight or interference? House Bill 539 would create a board of governors to oversee the UH Manoa athletics department.

HB 539 would create the seven-person board to oversee, maintain and operate the athletics department--including the appointment, retention and termination of the AD. The board would consist of three members of the Board of Regents, a coach at UH Manoa, and appointees from the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President.

"This particular entity or department called athletics should be separate, run by a separate board of governors, where we can have some say or control over that particular entity that we're funding" said State Representative Isaac Choy, who drafted the bill.

Critics could construe that as meddling--Choy disagrees. "I don't think they would have day to day control, it's more what direction we're going to be going in".

Current AD Ben Jay knows all too well about the financial challenges the department faces. "In our situation, the University of Hawaii athletics program is in a financial bind right now, and we need support from the public, and the rest of the state". Jay continued, "with the big five conferences, with autonomy issues, it's going to be increasing costs to operate athletic programs across the country".

The bill would set up a special fund for the board, which would be used to run all the programs. It in turn, would streamline the lobbying process with the legislature.

"He can say this is my vision, this is my plan, this is how much money I have, this is how much I gotta spend. Please scrutinize it, I need this much support" said Choy.

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