Hoops Wins Good For UH Budget

UH guard Garrett Nevels rises over the defense Dec. 30 against Norfolk State. | Photo courtesy UH athletics

UH guard Garrett Nevels rises over the defense Dec. 30 against Norfolk State. | Photo courtesy UH athletics

The University of Hawaii athletics department released information last week indicating that men’s basketball revenue is exceeding projections for this 2013-14 season. That follows a football season that fell drastically short of projections. The basketball team entered last week at 14-5. Football, as you may recall, struggled mightily to an 1-11 record.

The correlation of winning to attendance is rather obvious. People will come out to watch a winner, but if a team hits hard times, only its hardcore base stays faithful to the cause.

But this is the problem with projections. Earlier in my career, I sold cars while sitting out a non-compete clause in my sportscasting career. At the first of every month, a manager would hold a meeting and require each “sales consultant” to fill out a sheet projecting his or he car sales of the month.

I did not endear myself to management by referring to these sessions as fiction writ ing, or by asking questions like, “How many people are coming to the lot to buy cars this month?”

We were told that, if we had any initiative, we’d grab a phone book, pick a letter and cold call prospective buyers.

It was ludicrous, of course. But probably not any sillier than asking athletic administrators to project ticket sales without knowing what kind of teams they’re putting on the field.

Maybe Ben Jay should take a page from my sales book. Project low sales and give yourself a chance to exceed expectations, perhaps by a large margin. To make wild claims and have them fall woefully short is to disappoint and discharge all of the constituencies needed to make athletics a success.

Don’t mistake my meaning – you need to work your tail off to promote and market your product to find the revenues needed to field highly competitive teams.

But grandiose projections and unrealistic expectations don’t do anybody any good, especially the parties that offer them up.

The last men’s basketball road trip saw two wins including an overtime victory on homecoming night at UC-Irvine that had to be one of the most exciting games for UH in many years.

It had all the elements: big second-half deficit, large, hostile crowd, a Goliath on the other team (7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndjiaye) and heroics by several UH players down the stretch, including a fearless mid-range game by Gar-rett Nevels, short corner shooting exhibition by Isaac Fotu and an amazing trey at the buzzer of regulation by Keith Shamburger.

Hawaii will play the last two games of a four-game homestand this week against preseason favorite UC-Santa Barbara, which features player-of-the-year candidate Alan Williams, and Cal Poly, which handed the Rainbow Warriors a 12-point defeat in its conference road opener.

This team may be the best bang for the buck for your entertainment dollar. And if they can develop their bench some, they can get better. Should make for an incredibly exciting stretch run in the conference.

And just in case anybody has forgotten, the conference tournament winner in March gets its ticket punched to the NCAA Big Dance!