Hawai‘i House Funds UH Athletics Meal Program

May 7, 2019, 5:00 PM HST (Updated May 10, 2019, 11:31 AM)
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The Hawai‘i Legislature has passed a bill providing $8 million in funding to support the University of Hawaiʻi collegiate athletics program.

HB 1547 HD2 SD3 CD2 provides $4 million for fiscal year 2019-2020 and $4 million for fiscal year 2020-2021 to provide student-athletes with benefits as permitted by National Collegiate Athletics Association.

Rep. Chris Todd. PC: Hawai‘i Legislature.

Rep. Chris Todd, who wrote the bill, said the funds will benefit student-athletes across the UH system, including UH Hilo.

“The bill was conceived to provide meals for student-athletes, especially while traveling to the mainland to compete,” said Rep. Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaʻewa, Waiākea). “Previously, athletes have only been provided with one meal a day. Providing meals is an important health and wellness issue for our young athletes and contributes greatly to their success.”

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UH Athletic Director David A.K. Matlin in his written testimony asked that the funding be allowed to support UH Athletics in general and not limited to the cost of meals. Matlin said UH has higher travel expenses than their conference opponents.

Rep. Sean Quinlan (Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Pūpūkea, Kahuku, Lā‘ie, Hau‘ula, Waiāhole, Waikāne, Sunset Beach, Punalu‘u, Ka‘a‘awa) agreed that flexibility in using the funds was a good idea.

“We still want to make sure our students-athletes are well fed,” said Rep. Quinlan, who co-introduced the bill. “But if UH needs to use the money in other ways that also benefit student-athletes, this fund will be there to help.”

The bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

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