Takai Proposes $10 Million Allocation to Boost University of Hawaii Athletics

Rep. Mark Takai is a congressional candidate in 2014
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Rep. Mark Takai is a congressional candidate in 2014

HONOLULU – Rep. K. Mark Takai (Aiea) is proposing a legislative bill that will provide the intercollegiate athletic program at UH Manoa with a one-time $10 million boost.

This legislative proposal dovetails UH athletic director Ben Jay’s strategic plan announced in September.



“UH athletics is not only the front porch of our University, but also the marquee brand for Hawaii,” Takai said. “To be a relevant and competitive program, the operating budget needs to grow to $40 million (from $32 million).”


Takai said that he’s spoken to many people throughout Hawaii who support UH athletics and agree with Jay’s goal of “positioning UH athletics as a NCAA top 50 program.”


“It’s much easier to get community support and people in the stands when we have winning teams,” Takai acknowledged. “However, it’s because of the past few challenging years that we need to step up now and support our athletic program.”


“In recent years, the ability to maintain and grow our Division I programs has become challenging. We are at a crossroads of being one of the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have nots,’” Jay said.


Takai’s legislative proposal also includes a 50 percent match requirement – for each new dollar raised by the UH athletic program, the state will provide two dollars.


“This proposal is designed to encourage more community support, more people donating to the UH athletic program,” Takai explained.


Takai is confident that this one-time infusion of state funds will be an incentive to additional community support and will launch Hawaii’s program forward.


Takai said that he has spoken to both Chancellor Tom Apple and Jay over the past few months about how best to utilize this type of one-time funding to leverage the community for long-lasting support.


“We need to be financially secure with an image, rank and reputation that will make UH athletics nationally recognized,” Jay said, “matching the academic excellence that the university has already achieved.”


Takai received an athletic scholarship from UH Manoa. He is the past president of the UH Letterwinners Club and current board member of Ahahui Koa Anuenue.






  1. KHON2 quotes Senate President Donna Mercado Kim says that money can be put to better use. "The university's buildings R&M, the repair and maintenance the buildings, are falling apart. Kim says the university's mission is still to educate the students and more money should be put into helping them graduate on time.
    She also points out that the Athletics Department already got a big break when the university essentially erased a $13 million debt by the Athletics Department.
    "Each year tuition costs go up and up and we've been doing a lot of construction on the school and many other things and I think there's a lot of other things would be better to put the money use for the students financially than just athletics," UH student Joleen Contillo said.
    More at .https://www.khon2.com/news/should-uh-athletics-get-10m-boost

    • KHON2 favors Mark Takai; this report begins with; "KHON2 slant is;"The University of Hawaii football team is the financial driving force of the Athletics Department, as is the case with many other universities around the country. And after a season with one win and 12 losses.
      "The challenges that we're having in winning football games. When you don't win the ticket sales and gate receipts drop," said Rep. Mark Takai.

      Yet, Hawaii Reporter has Takai's letter supporting same sex marriage. Type his name in HR's search app.

  2. Yes, this is straight up bullcrap. Either get it from Alumni associations, do fund raising on their own, or move funds from different school programs, but DO NOT make the taxpayers foot that bill. The UH bill is fat enough.

  3. this attention whore wants us taxpayers to foot the bill for his proposal. In that way, he looks good while the rest of us honest working citizens get the shaft……….again. No way I will support this. UH has made many stupid financial decisions and now they have to be accountable for their shortcoming. Shut down some sports, do fund raisers, cut salaries or even move down to Division 2. Us Taxpayers are sick and tired of the ineptitude of the Regents, President and the BS politics. Nothing that the state or city runs are never successful. Make UH a private insititution so that it's manage professionally without politics.

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