- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - University of Hawaii’s athletics director said the department is facing a possible $2 million shortfall.

A disappointing 1-11 football season and an inability to raise $1 million that had been counted on led to some of the money woes, Athletics Director Ben Jay told a Board of Regents committee.

Officials are mulling layoffs of hourly paid workers and raising student athletic fees to reduce the deficit, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://ow.ly/tmgvs ) reported Thursday.

Students currently pay a per semester fee of $50, that contributes about $1.4 million a year to athletics. Most Mountain West member schools charge more.

Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple cleared the department of a nearly $15 million deficit last summer and gave the department three years to balance its $30 million budget or face cutting sports offerings.

Apple told the regents he wasn’t expecting such a dismal football season. “We thought we’d get more bodies in the seats,” he said.

He said fundraising efforts will have to ramp up to “start yielding fruit at a level we’ve never seen before.”

Apple also said he’s “cautiously optimistic” of having some support from Aloha Stadium or the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Jay tells the university’s Board of Regents that he’s determined to balance the budget.

“If, at the end of three years, I have failed miserably at this, then the chancellor has to make a decision: What are we going to do? That (cutting sports) is the absolute last resort,” Jay said. “Really I don’t want to entertain that with my coaches.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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