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Could the University of Hawaii join the ranks of USC, UCLA, and Stanford? If UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple had his way, the Pac-12 is where Hawaii belongs.
The Pac-12 hasn’t sent out an invitation, but if it did, it would mean big money for UH.
Chancellor Apple and other UH supporters say it also makes more sense for the school to compete against those universities.
“I would very much like to see us in an expanded Pac-12, maybe the Pac-16 when it forms, cause we’re there academically,” Chancellor Apple said.
Chancellor Apple was the guest speaker at the weekly Quarterback Club meeting on Monday and made it clear that would be a big score for the university to be aligned with the conference that also includes Universities of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona.
Just the money from TV contracts alone would be a major upgrade.
“If you’re in the Pac-12, you get about $20 million a year just for being in the Pac-12 from the TV contracts and our whole athletics budget’s around $32 million,” Chancellor Apple said.
It’s quite a turn around from a recent statement by Apple, who was quoted at the University newspaper saying he was considering UH Athletics to drop out of the Division 1A conference if the department keeps losing money.
Supporters like the fundraising group Ahahui Koa Anuenue say the conference move would be a welcome opportunity. The attendance for games against Pac-12 or Pac-10 schools is usually higher.
“Many of the people from the community have also gone to those Pac-10 schools, so there’s already a relationship between Hawaii and the West Coast,” Ahahui Koa Anuenue President Vince Baldemor said.
It would be up to the presidents of the Pac-12 schools to decide if they want to expand.