Yes, we know many UH fans are angry, frustrated and disappointed. And, yes, many won’t take it anymore and are demanding the Warriors make a declaration of independence.
But, really, how was it supposed to end after Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada decided to secede from the WAC to join the Mountain West Conference? Was there an expectation that San Diego State, UNLV or a Pac-10 school was going to be part of the WAC expansion plans? Of course not. Look at the map. There were no available schools with FBS memberships or aspirations west of San Antonio. Sure, Montana would have been a nice addition. But faced with the option of upgrading to the higher division and adding women’s sports, or staying put and contending for FBC championships, Montana chose the more fiscally agreeable second door.
That leaves the WAC to continue to play Moneyball, searching for the next best prospect. The cycle could end if the MWC would stop poaching WAC teams, and instead find and develop their own teams. But that’s as likely as the Yankees not going after free agents.
The problem is teams do not want to be in leagues that are spread the length of the Mainland, which is approximately the distance between Hawaii and the West Coast. It is why UH wasn’t asked to be part of the WAC secessionists that formed the MWC in 1999. It is why when the MWC added four more teams, the invitation list did not include UH. And it is why Boise, Fresno State, San Diego State, UNLV and Nevada won’t write letters of recommendations.
UH’s best hope is that the MWC extends an invitation, either fully or for football only (with UH’s non-football teams going to the Big West). But that only happens if the Big East grabs TCU, and Houston decides not to go to the MWC. One idea being floated is UH goes independent in football (with the rest going to the Big West) because that will make it an easier move should the MWC come calling. That’s comparable to a reporter quitting his newspaper job to be a free-lance writer just in case the New York Times calls. Best rule of the market: It’s easier to get a job when you have a job.
There have been discussions about UH going the independent route in football as opposed to being in a watered-down WAC. But that won’t fly with the Upper Campus without guarantees that it will be a sound financial move, and that means guaranteeing that the Warriors can play quality opponents in October and November, and secure a double-dip deal in which it can have both a national television contract while keeping pay-per-view revenue. Let’s hope the Boise game, which was televised on ESPNU, was not the test case.
It might not be popular, but the best thing would be for the Warriors to remain in the WAC for football, at least until the national picture gains clarity. That fills the middle schedule. They can load up on high RPI non-conference opponents, which is what people want, anyway. Would it hurt recruiting or attendance? Not if the Warriors have a chance to go 13-0 every year. People might say they go to games because of the opponent, but they want to leave with victories. And don’t forget that ESPN and the WAC are majority owners of the Hawaii Bowl.
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Tyleen Tausaga and Kate Robinson will be among the former stars playing in today’s alumane softball game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. First pitch is at 5 p.m.
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Avis has selected Momo as the winner of the Rainbow Wahine softball shirt. Text me at 256-0223 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.