Brennan criticizes conditions at Hawaii athletic facilities

Updated: May 4, 2007, 11:30 PM ET
Associated Press

HONOLULU -- Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan is criticizing school administrators for not sufficiently funding and backing the upgrade of aging and substandard athletic facilities.

From the crusty locker room and the ancient carpet in the coaches' offices to the lack of soap in the showers, Brennan gave several examples of what needed to be improved.

"There's a good chance we could be a Top 25 preseason ranked football team and we can't even get soap in our locker room," he said Friday. "We're going against programs that have $20 million facilities with support and tradition. And you want us to compete with that? Just help us out."

He said all the Hawaii sports are entitled to so much more, but "it's getting the school to cough up money."

His concerns were first published in The Honolulu Advertiser.

"I want to see change. I want to see this school way better off when I leave," he told the newspaper. "That's a big reason why I came back. When the seniors leave, we want to know our younger teammates will be taken care of. And I'm not just talking about football. I want to see the entire sports program become better."

Brennan also complained about having to pay for parking to attend practices, workouts and study sessions. The quarterback said he racked up as much as $800 in parking fines at the Manoa campus and his car has been towed twice.

University of Hawaii spokesman Gregg Takayama said he understands Brennan's concerns, saying the players are using the facilities every day and have firsthand experience.

Takayama emphasized the chancellor's office has provided financial support in past years to balance the athletic budget and has been working with the department on a master plan to upgrade facilities.

"But overall, the Manoa campus is still trying to overcome more than a decade of shortfalls in budget appropriations that apply to facilities, staff and maintenance," Takayama said. "We are in the process of upgrading the entire Manoa campus and the athletics department is a part of it. It is a priority for the chancellor's office."

Hawaii athletics director Herman Frazier said his $21 million annual budget barely covers the day-to-day operation of the department. Frazier said he's been working with school officials on securing more money for capital improvements.

"I think if you compare (our facilities) with some schools in the WAC, we're probably right there," Frazier said. But compared to BCS programs like Ohio State, "can we compete with them? I'm not sure we can, ever."

Despite the conditions at Manoa, Frazier pointed to the success of different UH sports teams. The football team finished 11-3 last season.

Brennan agreed, saying better facilities would take the school to another level.

"To have this success with this lack of resources says a lot about Herman Frazier, Coach (June) Jones and especially about the student-athletes," Brennan said. "You can't deny the fact that our facilities are poor."

Besides the facilities, Brennan said players wind up paying for their own equipment, like shoes and wristbands because of the tight budget. Brennan, who attended Colorado for a year, said the facilities and resources in Boulder were "night and day" in comparison.

The record-breaking quarterback, who finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting last season, said he was hesitant to voice his opinions, which may affect recruiting, but felt compelled to speak out.

Brennan set an NCAA record with 58 touchdown passes last season, leading the nation in passing yards (5,549), passing efficiency (186) and completion percentage (72.6). He withdrew from the NFL draft to return for his senior season at Hawaii.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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