The announcement by the Big West Conference to postpone all fall sports for the remainder of the calendar year was not unexpected. Nonetheless, it was still hard to take for those affected in the University of Hawaii athletics department.
UH athletics director David Matlin, women’s volleyball coach Robyn Ah Mow, women’s soccer coach Michele Nagamine, and track and field and cross country coach Tim Boyce each expressed disappointment in the Big West’s decision but understand that safety is a priority for all schools involved.
“Truly a heartbreaking day for Rainbow Wahine and Warrior nation,” Matlin said. “No one has been untouched by this pandemic.”
Matlin said that he supports the decision from the conference. Financially, he says the athletics department generates approximately 70 percent of its own revenue and the school has crunched the numbers every day.
Although a loss of revenue from home games is expected, Matlin says the school will save money as well when it comes to not having to pay for the travel of opposing Big West teams to Hawaii, which the school funds as a stipulation of Big West membership. Additionally, furloughs are not expected for UH coaches.
The Big West has postponed fall sports instead of canceling it, leaving the door open for teams to return to action in the spring if the conference deems it safe. To that end, Matlin said “there’s a lot of time between now and then.”
If and when sports does return, the Hawaii women’s volleyball team will be without one of their top players in Hanna Hellvig, the reigning Big West Freshman of the Year. On Wednesday, Ah Mow said the team does not anticipate her return regardless of timetable and that the team “wishes her the best.”
After the Big West domino fell on Wednesday, football remains the most prominent UH sport in question. The start of fall camp has been delayed from Friday to a time early next week. Hawaii is a football-only member of the Mountain West Conference, but there has been no announcement regarding fall sports by the MWC to date. Matlin says there will be an answer on football within the “next few weeks.”