HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state of Hawaii remains abuzz from the University of Hawaii (UH) football upset win over 18th ranked Fresno State on Saturday, Oct. 2 — even if there was no buzz inside of the new Clarence T.C. Ching Stadium.
UH remains the lone FBS college football team without in-person fans.
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“Man, only thing is it breaks my heart that we couldn’t have our Hawaii family watch that,” Rainbow Warriors head coach Todd Graham said. “I’d love to have them on that field with us after that game. And especially our football family, our kid’s parents.”
A history-making win for the Rainbow Warriors would usually be met with fan adoration and celebration after the hard-fought contest. Now, even some health officials questioned Gov. David Ige’s reasoning for not allowing fans at UH football games.
“I believe it is absolutely safe to have masked vaccinated people in any sporting event, let alone the UH broad open-air over there in Manoa where there’s a nice little breeze that comes right down through Manoa valley. That is as safe as you could ever ask,” Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group Hawaii said.
In response to a question from KHON2 on Friday, Oct. 1, Gov. Ige highlighted the safety of bars while watching games.
“It certainly is different in the sense that any gathering where you have large numbers, and when we are talking about sporting events that may attract a thousand people or more, it does become an opportunity to spread the virus,” Gov. Ige said.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said watching the game indoors might not be as safe.
“l think it’s a mistake to not allow fans to be outdoors because, otherwise, they go indoors and get drunk and yell at each other and — and I love that too — but only when there’s no COVID. So if we’re gonna have fans that want to yell and scream, do it outdoors, vaccinated in masks. It’s the right thing to do,” Lt. Gov. Green said.
Hawaii State House Speaker Scott Saiki also chimed and asked Gov. Ige to allow fans to Saturday’s game.
“It is important that you make a prompt decision to ensure public participation and support of UH athletics, recruiting ability and limited revenue generation. Permitting a modicum of spectators will also demonstrate to other states that Hawaii is returning to normalcy, but in a farm more prescribed manner (such as your relaxed travel policy),” Saiki wrote.
As for the ‘Bows, they hope public opinion will persuade Gov. Ige to, at the very least, let family members watch in person.
“Sure hope so. It’s really disappointing to me. Especially for our families and our players really disappointing,” Graham said.
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Hawaii’s next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 23, against New Mexico State.