With fall sports sidelined, Rainbow Warrior Athletics faces growing deficit

With fall sports sidelined, Rainbow Warrior Athletics faces growing deficit
Courtesy: Hawaii Athletics

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined University of Hawaii fall sports for the 2020 season, sending a financial ripple effect through the Athletics Department.

In a University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting Thursday, UH President David Lassner said the athletics department is multi-million dollar deficit for the 2021 fiscal year.

“COVID-19 impacts, have resulted in the recent projection of a possible record deficit this year of 9.3 million.” Lassner told the board members. “If mitigation measures are not taken.”

This isn’t the first time UH has had issues with their finances.

Lassner says that they haven’t had a balanced budget since the Sugar Bowl — and that was in 2008.

The massive financial hole prompted Lassner to create a committee to come up with strategic advice for the future of UH athletics in Manoa.

“I am now convening a blue ribbon committee from the campus and community to provide strategic visioning advice for the future of UH Manoa Athletics.” Lassner said.

“UH Manoa alone cannot support the program as it is and we need to take action to bring revenues and expenses into alignment. The committee ... will be asked to complete it’s work this calendar year.”

The 14-member committee will consist of campus and athletic leaders, community members and the UH Foundation. Without any sports right now, UH has lost many revenue streams like ticket sales, NCAA distributions and merchandising. Worse, it’s not clear when sports will be able to safely resume.

During the meeting, UH Athletic Director David Matlin reassured the board members that the Rainbow Warriors will persevere.

“We are continually looking at how we can reinvent ourselves and we know that when we get to the other side, we will be different.” Matlin said.

One of the first cost cutting moves UH Athletics has had to make as a result of the pandemic was combining the Rainbow Wahine Beach and Indoor Volleyball teams into one program.

Here’s a list of the university’s blue ribbon committee members:

  • Laura Beeman, UH Women’s Basketball Head Coach
  • Michael Bruno, UH Manoa Provost
  • Leslie Campanian, director of External Affairs, Hartung Brothers Hawaii/AKA
  • Tim Dolan, UH Vice President of Advancement
  • Susan Eichor, Chief Operating Officer of aio
  • Art Gladstone, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Hawaii Pacific Health
  • Warren Haruki, President and CEO, Grove Farm Co.
  • Denis Isono, Former Ahahui Koa Anuenue Chair
  • David Matlin, UH Manoa Director of Athletics
  • Randy Perreira, HGEA Executive Director
  • Scot Sinnett, UH Manoa Athletics Faculty Advisor Representative
  • Kent Untermann, UH Manoa graduate and former football player
  • Kent Youel, UH Foundation Board of Trustees/Retired Coast Guard
  • Kalbert Young, UH Vice President Budget and Finance/CFO

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