UH athletics director unveils $14.2 million road map to balance budget

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University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin has a road map to a balanced budget after yet another year in the red.

But how much will it cost and who could end up paying?

Matlin stood in front of the UH Board of Regents Thursday afternoon and talked about the unique challenges his athletics department faces. He says in order to get to a balanced budget, the department will need a total of $14.2 million over the next five years.

“In the end, when you’re embarking on a journey like this, you visualize success and this is a road map of how I think we can be successful and I’m counting on so many people to help us get there and to tweak it,” he said.

There were four areas that Matlin focused on in his presentation: UH athletics initiatives, student fees increase, direct legislative support, and increased UH institutional support.

Matlin says he’s already reached out to UH student organizations to get their feedback.

Under this plan, student fees would increase from $50 a semester in 2015 to $100 a semester in 2020.

“This is just one of those four areas we’d have to go to the students, work collaboratively to get cost benefits, and do that in a collaborative manner,” Matlin said.

The plan would still have to be proposed and get approved by the Board of Regents before it became a reality.

UH students already know it could be a possibility, so what do they think?

“I’m personally okay with it because the benefits of the athletics department that people don’t understand are tremendous — the scholarships, the inspiration to younger athletes,” said UH student Jeremy Haight.

“If they do raise it, I would like to know what they’re going to raise it for,” said UH student Chazton Sasil. “I know sometimes the athletics department does need an upgrade and I understand they want to raise it, but not to the extent that it’s going to be a lot of money.”

Matlin says the biggest challenge to the UH athletics department is geography, with UH having to pay out $1.8 million in travel subsidies and guarantees in 2015.

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