In 2009, at the request (pleading?) of Fresno State, UH moved its kickoffs for home WAC games an hour earlier, to 5:05 p.m. That allowed visiting teams a chance to make the redeye flights that night, saving them the cost of an extra night’s hotel stay.
Last year, based on a survey, the kickoffs were moved to 5:35 p.m.
Now, based on another survey, the kickoffs will be at 6:05 p.m. this season, when rival Fresno State plays at Aloha Stadium. Of course, in the interim, Fresno State decided to leave the WAC, the WAC demanded that Fresno State pay a $5 million exit fee, Fresno State refused, a reduced price fee of $900,000 was agreed upon with FS leaving in 2012, and then UH announced it was leaving the WAC. Coincidence? Nah.
Here’s a 2009 story from the Fresno State Web site, when UH was in a more hospitable mood:
FRESNO, Calif. – In tough economic times, it’s nice when rival schools can work together to help meet budget challenges.
That’s the case as Hawaii officials agreed to a request by Fresno State to move the Oct. 10 football game at Aloha Stadium to 5:05 p.m. HT (8 p.m. PT).
In doing so, that will allow the Fresno State football team to catch a late night flight from Honolulu to return to California after the game instead of spending the night in a hotel, which will be a considerable savings to the Fresno State budget. Had the game not been changed, the Bulldog team would not have had enough time to catch the last flights from Honolulu the night of the game and had originally planned to spend Saturday night in Honolulu and fly home early Sunday morning.
“We are grateful to Jim Donavan and Coach McMackin for working with us,” said head coach Pat Hill. “As everyone knows, the Hawaii trip is always tough and when we have to stay overnight after the game, it not only costs more but it make for a long travel day on Sunday and we don’t get back to Fresno until Sunday night. All in all, this is a great situation for us not only from a budget standpoint but also to help the guys get some rest on Sunday and be fresh and ready for classes on Monday morning.”
The team will be departing on two different flights between 10:30-11 p.m., which brings them home Sunday at around noon.
Hawaii has agreed to make that accommodation to several other schools after Fresno State made the initial request. The original start times were 6:05 p.m. HT.
“Initially, Fresno State expressed interest in moving the start time so they could catch the red-eye flight back to the West Coast,” Hawaii Athletics Director Jim Donovan said. “After consulting with our facilities staff and Scott Chan at Aloha Stadium, we agreed to accommodate them and offer that same time slot to our other three WAC home opponents. Our intention is to revert back to the 6:05 p.m. kickoff when everyone’s budget gets better in the next year or two. However, if we receive positive feedback from this switch, we may consider keeping the 5:05 p.m. kickoff in the future.”
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The elephant men:
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Can’t find a nicer and more gregarious guy than defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga … off the field.
On the field, Meatoga said he channels his inner Oscar the Grouch. Why? “It’s the position,” Meatoga said. “It makes you that way.”
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Happy birthday to the new-and-improved DPK.