Updated 

UH athletics plans cuts to address red ink


HONOLULU — University of Hawaii sports programs are again projecting a deficit and plan to cut spending on operational budget items by about 5 percent.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday the UH athletic department projects a deficit of $1.48 million for the fiscal year that closes June 30.

That may be optimistic.

Athletic director Ben Jay tells regents that the department’s projected $31.28 million revenue target is ambitious and the deficient could reach $3 million.

The 5 percent reduction will not affect salaries or benefits.

The department oversees 21 teams and has run up a deficit in 11 of the past 13 years.

Jay drew attention earlier this week when he told university regents while making the case for more state funding that if the department’s finances don’t improve, the school could lose its football team. Jay said later there are no active plans to cut any sports.

Ticket sales could help.

The budget projects an 8.3 percent increase in football ticket revenue. Jay says a strong start Aug. 30 against 25th-ranked Washington would win back “the wait-and-see fans.”

Women’s volleyball and men’s basketball are expected to hit or beat $1 million in ticket revenue, a mark basketball hasn’t reached since the 2008-2009 season. The department also expects nearly $1.5 million from boosters and other donors.

Jay said there are some increases that can’t be avoided, including $250,000 in negotiated raises for union employees.

“Many of our rising costs are not within our control,” he said.

Jay said the department is also affected by rising costs for tuition, housing and other items at the university as a whole.

“While the university does provide funding support for most of our scholarship costs, the department must pay the unfunded difference of approximately $700,000,” Jay said.