Hawaii Vs. Cal Tonight Is An Example Of How Smaller Schools Don’t Care About Their Athletes

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The University of Hawaii administration absolutely hates their football program. They’re sick of the players, the coaches, the mounting losses, and the expenses. They’re so ready for this entire nightmare to be over that they don’t even care if that means one of their own student-athletes suffering a life-altering injury. Don’t believe me? Then please, I’m asking you sincerely, give me a more reasonable explanation for why the Hawaii higher-ups signed up for tonight’s game in Australia against Cal, and then a definite Jim Harbaugh-sized curb stomping in Ann Arbor next week. Please.

Hawaii has traveled almost 6,000 miles to Australia for tonight’s kickoff, and will make the nearly twelve-hour flight again this evening or early tomorrow morning after likely getting their ass kicked by Coach Sonny Dykes and the Bears. That’s not exactly an Australian vacation in its own right, but in what is the worst scheduling in the history of college football, on Wednesday, just seventy-two hours after their return from Australia, Hawaii is set to fly another 5,000 miles to Ann Arbor to face national championship hopeful Michigan. No team has ever traveled over 10,000 miles for their first two games, nor has any program ever come close to the nearly forty-eight hours of total flight time the Hawaii players and coaches must endure over this grueling ten-day stretch of money-grubbing hell.

This is dangerous for a litany of reasons, and an immense disadvantage to the Warrior players. As Michigan sits and plays the new Madden game, gets a good night sleep at home, and probably bangs out some co-eds, Hawaii, already battered from a Week 1 debacle Down Under, will be injured, tired, sore, and stranded on another jaunt across the world to personally collect a check for the University. It’s disgusting.

I understand smaller programs need the cash monsters like Michigan and promotional games such as tonight’s one in Australia. I’m a capitalist, too. But the most important asset a football program has is its players and coaches, the literal lifeblood of the team itself. Grabbing a check and letting your kids go get their asses kicked is one thing; it’s an unpleasant reality of sports and fiscal inequality. But doing so twice in one week and on opposite ends of the Earth is patently wrong.

For an organization that claims to “care about the student-athlete” so much that they’re drug tested for the horribly addicting and life-destroying substance of marijuana while the major conferences brim with steroids like a WWE locker room, allowing an athletic department to sell the wellbeing and possibility of success of their own kids is pathetic — though par for the course for the NCAA.

While I’m not a proponent of paying players, this is the sort of situation that makes you think, if only for a moment, that Northwestern wasn’t so insane when the players tried to unionize. Why is it that the university decides unilaterally where the players will go or who they will play, even when the schedule is absurdly turned against them by their own superiors?

There is absolutely no reason Hawaii can’t collect a check in LA getting smashed by USC, Seattle against the fighting Chris Petersens, Arizona getting Dick Rod’d, or, GASP, actually having a D-I non-conference game at home. I’m sure there’s somebody somewhere who wouldn’t mind an all expenses paid trip to the islands. Michigan did it a decade ago, and I promise you New Mexico and their peers would in a heartbeat.

But those options didn’t work for the Hawaii decision makers. They chased the largest check no matter the consequences, securing the worst travel schedule for their teenaged Warriors in the history of American athletics. On the program’s website, it lists the wellbeing of the student-athletes as the school’s main priority. I guess they meant after lining their own pockets.

Shame on Hawaii. Take Cal tonight and bust Bovada like the exploited Warrior players are going to be busted in Ann Arbor next weekend.

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