When we discuss the WAC we are ultimately discussing the "Hawai'i Problem", that is the fact that there is only one university with an enrollment greater than 10k in the Island chain, so no matter what conference you propose Hawai'i (UH-Manoa, the state flagship of the UH system) play in, the other members of their conference will be taking a lengthy trip to Hawaii to play a single game.
As someone who spent my first ten years living in Hawai'i, the situation bums me out immensely, hence this thread. My question to you is, how does this situation get fixed? How do we save athletics in the aloha state?
The NCAA has allowed concessions to keep UH viable like allowing them to play 13 games instead of 12. So maybe some support can come from the NCAA. Obama is another Hawai'i kid, so it is possible we might see government aid for small states like Hawai'i or national legislation that affects universities that might impact Hawai'i in a positive way.
I have thought that maybe the answer is to get a non-football travel partner for UH-Manoa. There are 4 DII candidates in the PAC West, 3 on Oahu (876,151) like UH and one on the Big Island:
Chaminade University of Honolulu - 2836 students, roman catholic university with a reasonable name in basketball. McCabe Gymnasium seats 2800 for basketball. I could not find the endowment, but one would suspect it is one of the largest endowments of our candidates.
Brigham Young University Hawai'i (BYUH) - 2400 students. Located on Oahu, near Honolulu proper. Would BYU pump money into it's satellite reminder of it's WAC past? It already has a 4500 seat arena, the Cannon Activities Center.
Hawai'i Pacific University - With an enrollment of 8500-9000, HPU is the island's largest private university and the Island chain's 2nd largest university. It has two campuses, one of those in Honolulu. They play some of their games in the former Basketball home of the UH-Manoa Rainbow Warriors, the 7700 seat Blaisdell Center, a workable home for upper level FBS basketball.
UH-Hilo - A tiny public with only 3,800 students, but still the 3rd largest university in the Islands. UHH is located in the Island's second largest metro area (Hilo = 40k), and on the BIG ISLAND --- the island with the second highest population (148,677 as of 2000). UH-Hilo has some local support for an independent status. In the last decade there was a local push to break off the Hilo campus into a proposed, "Hawaiʻi State University" that lead to a bill being proposed in the Hawai'i House of Representatives. That bill was allowed to die. Proponents argued that if let to develop into an independent university, Hawaii State would grow rapidly. Opponents argued it would sap UH-Manoa (which seems to imply UH-Manoa may be taking more than it's share of resources, The last link gets into that. I'll leave it to you to decide if the arguement put forth by Manoa is a fair one...).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University ... sity.3F.22http://www.uhh.hawaii.edu/uhh/congress/ ... 05_001.doc
.http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/artic ... ln01p.htmlhttp://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/artic ... ln02p.html
There are arguements that suggest that having 4 DII programs was a tremendous help in helping the PAC West reload to 6 teams when their last confernece mates broke away. A counter arguement might pose the question of whether having 4 teams in Hawaii in a conference actually drives off conference mates by making too many trips to Hawai'i needed.
I have some ideas, but as many have pointed out to me, I am given to being somewhat closed minded when I think something is quite clear. I hope you will share your ideas. What can be done to preserve the future of collegiate athletics at a high level in the rainbow state?