Last three years' deficits: $1.4M per

Updated: June 17, 2004, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

HONOLULU -- The University of Hawaii athletic department plans to cut spending and hire a financial officer as part of its effort to stop a trend of three straight years of budget deficits exceeding $1.4 million, officials said.

The plan was outlined Wednesday to the university's Board of Regents meeting.

It comes as the department is projected to finish with a deficit of about $1.47 million for the fiscal year that ends in two weeks. The department reported losses of $2.47 million in 2002-03 and $1.43 million in 2001-02.

"Let us make this work," athletic director Herman Frazier said in outlining his five-year plan. "While this may seem bleak, we have a way to get us there."

The first phase of the plan is to cut expenses, reducing the next budget for the coming fiscal year to $18 million. The 19-sport program is expected to spend $18.4 million this fiscal year.

Some of the immediate fixes include a reduction by two in the number of football road games in 2004 -- which Frazier claimed would reduce travel expenses by $200,000 -- as well as the reduction in operating expenses.

Frazier said he has completely "rebuilt" the budgeting process to put athletics on track to be in the black next year by up to $1 million, with expectations of netting $2.4 million annually by the 2006-07 fiscal year.

He predicts revenues to rise from $16.9 million in the current fiscal year to $22.7 million in 2009.

Meanwhile, Frazier said the university administration has authorized him to look beyond the university for a new chief financial officer for the department as early as mid-July -- a move supported by Jim Hasselman, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, which handles the department's accounts.

"This operation needs a strong financial person," Hasselman told the board. "Someone who's used to troubled situations."

Frazier said a salary level for the new post has not yet been determined.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press