Hawaii football season fan capacity remains unknown as kickoff nears

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are just 23 days to go until high school football kicks off again in Hawaii, but there is one catch: Play has yet to be approved by Gov. David Ige’s office.

This as questions still remain about how many fans the University of Hawaii (UH) will be able to hold in their new on-campus stadium. Honolulu’s Tier 5 rules allow for 50% capacity at outdoor sporting events, which could go up to 100% with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

UH is still waiting for Gov. Ige’s approval for 100% capacity at their Sept. 4 season opener. Stadiums across the nation are open for business with all Major League Baseball and National Football League teams cleared for 100% fan capacity.

UH’s $8.3 million T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, retrofitted to host football games in the fall, can hold approximately 9,000 fans.

UH said it is moving forward with planning as if they will play with full capacity on Sept. 4. The Mountain West Conference is allowing schools to determine their own capacity at stadiums. Fresno State and Boise State are among the plethora of schools that recently announced they would be at 100%.

“You see numerous outdoor venues throughout the country and you can’t imagine one state that’s at half capacity possibly for college football,” ‘Bows Football Finalist analyst Rich Miano said.

Any delay in a full house could be harmful to the athletics department budget, the program’s recruiting and the roster itself.

“When you start talking about 50% capacity and you start talking 4,500 there are a lot of high schools in America that are going to have more fans than the University of Hawaii and I think this will be used against them in recruiting I think this will hurt them in the transfer portal,” Miano said.

Hawaii was also one of the few states in America to cancel the high school football season in 2020, joining Connecticut and Maine.

There are about three weeks to go until the scheduled kickoff on Aug. 6, and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association says it has yet to get approval to play from Gov. Ige’s office. Fan capacity at games will be based on county guidelines.

“I always say that if you’re the only one doing something you’re either a genius or an idiot, and kind of do the math on this equation,” Miano said.

Gov. Ige’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. The state Department of Health and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office also declined to comment.

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