Hawaii State Senate Willing To Buy Out Todd Graham
Government may step in and remove Graham
This would be one of the most bizarre exits
Days after the Senate’s public hearing regarding the growing concerns surrounding the UH football team, Senator Donna Mercado Kim came out with a statement saying that if the allegations brought up against Coach Graham are true, they are prepared to buy out his contract or seek to fire Graham for cause in order to protect the welfare of the student-athletes.
BREAKING: Hawaii State Senator Donna Mercado Kim says the legislature is willing to pay the $1.275 million to buy out #HawaiiFB head coach Todd Graham’s contract if allegations made by players are true.
— Sam Spangler (@SamSpanglerHI) January 11, 2022
Senator Kim was also upset that instead of being concerned about their student-athletes after hearing the testimonies, the initial response by the UH representatives in attendance at the hearing was to say that the testimonies were cherry-picked and one sided.
Senator Kim was not the only one who left Friday’s meeting upset with what they heard. Hours after the hearing ended, Senator Favella announced on Facebook live that he was starting an online petition requesting the resignation or removal of President David Lassner, Athletic Director David Matlin and head coach Todd Graham.
It’s hard to say what kind of investigation will need to take place in order for any changes to be made because frankly I’m not sure if this has happened before. I’ve never heard of the state senate stepping in and making changes within a University’s athletic program. My three takeaways are:
- At least someone at that level cares enough to investigate and look into what is going on within the program.
- Where were these people when Aloha Stadium was being condemned and Hawaii had no place to play? Will they give the University money to make TC Ching a legitimate on campus stadium?
- Does this mean the Senate is willing to put more state funding into the UH athletic program with the correct leadership?
Matlin and Lassner certainly didn’t help their case by being unprepared to talk about the athletic departments budget and plan when asked about it at the hearing, but by the sound of the testimony submitted by Kolby Wyatt, a current tight end and a Georgia transfer it sounds like the Hawaii football program is well underfunded. He wrote about how the team only gets provided two meals per day during the season and spring practice and doesn’t receive meals during the off season.
He says it was a drastic change from Georgia where they had access to meals 24 hours a day with state-of-the-art training facilities. I’m not sure how other teams across the Mountain West Conference handle meals and I’m certainly not saying that the University should be supplying the same amenities that the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs receive, but it would be nice for the players to receive all their meals and nutrition year-round and a weight room that doesn’t flood when it rains too hard. The Stan Sheriff Center is an excellent facility for our gym sports but it is time to fund the program that pays the bills for the rest of the athletic department.
Instead of trying to fund NASED (New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District), a project that sounds eerily familiar to the disaster that is the Rail, how about giving that money to the University so that they can continue to build TC Ching into a legitimate on-campus stadium.
I was able to attend the Colorado State game this past season and I can honestly say the atmosphere at TC Ching is better than it has been at Aloha Stadium in recent years. The difference? The student section. Instead of having to take shuttles or figure out rides to Halawa, the on campus stadium allows students easy access. They showed up this season (when allowed) and I believe they will continue to show up especially if there is a good product on the field. They need to expand the student section so instead of a lottery system, all students who want to attend games are able to. It will build school spirit which will hopefully follow these students when they become alumni and are able to give back to an experience that they enjoyed.
Whew…sorry I got a little carried away there. Started with talking about a possible buyout and ended with the fantasy of an on campus SEC atmosphere. First things first, let’s figure out what direction the program will be going in. The February signing day is coming up quickly so the Senate needs to get this investigation going if they plan on making any changes. We will keep you posted as more information arises. As always, let’s go Bows!