Hawai’i is considering eliminating its men’s volleyball program in an effort to make-up for a multi-million dollar budget deficit.
Hawai’i athletics director Ben Jay presented a report to the school’s Board of Regents on Thursday that outlined three options, including cutting its men’s volleyball team, to help fix the athletics department’s projected $3.5 million budget shortfall.
As part of the option that would eliminate the men’s volleyball program, the women’s sailing and co-ed sailing teams would also be cut. However, this option would be the least cost efficient of the three options and only save the school about $500,000, according to the report.
One of the reasons for the decreased savings with this options is because of the Hawai’i men’s volleyball team’s ticket sales. The Rainbow Warriors annually bring in about $250,000 in ticket revenue and $35,000 in personal seat contributions.
The other two options proposed in the report could save the athletics department more than $1 million per year.
The first option would eliminate men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams and the co-ed sailing team. This option is projected to annually reduce the athletics department’s budget by about $1.37 million, according to the report.
The other option is to cut the football team, women’s swimming and diving team, women’s sailing team and co-ed sailing team. While this proposal would save the athletics department about $9.89 million per year, the report also projected the school would lose about $11.76 million in revenue each year if it cut its football program.
The problematic financial situation for Hawai’i is projected to worsen within the next two years.
Hawai’i is projected in the report to have more than a $5 million budget deficit by the 2017-18 fiscal year. In addition, the school in the upcoming years could have to an increase in its financial aid to student-athletes because of a recent NCAA decision to allow cost-of-living scholarships.
Men’s volleyball is projected to have third biggest budget within next two years of the five teams being considered to be cut. The team’s current budget is $627,772 and is projected to increase to $709,463 by the 2018 season, according to the report.
Hawai’i potentially could become the second NCAA Division I school in recent years to end its men’s volleyball program. Pacific also eliminated its men’s volleyball program at the end of last season as part of a new campus-wide strategic initiative.
Hawai’i has been ranked in the national coaches poll 448 times since the poll started in 1986 — the fifth most weeks ranked of any college men’s volleyball team. In addition, the Rainbow Warriors are currently ranked No. 6 and two-matches behind No. 2 USC for first place in the MPSF.
Hawai’i also won the 2002 NCAA championship, but that national title was later vacated because of rule violations.