In order for HPU and the conference to receive funds for sports
programs, they have to comply with new regulations set forth
by the NCAA that require each conference to have five sponsored
sports. Right now HPU has four men’s sports: basketball, baseball,
cross country, and tennis: and four women’s sports: volleyball,
softball, cross country, and tennis.
For the 2004-2005 season, HPU and the PacWest teams decided
to add one men’s and one women’s sport—golf—to continue to receive
funding from the NCAA and the PacWest conference.
In addition to golf, the PacWest is going to add one additional
women’s sport that, while not required, will benefit the conference
according to Jarrnett Lono, HPU’s athletic information director.
The other sport is still up in the air, but the front runner
appears to be women’s bowling. The other sports that have been
discussed are archery, riflery, and fencing.
For a sport to be sponsored by the NCAA, at least six teams
in the conference have to offer it. Additionally a champion
must be determined by a home series or a tournament at the end
of the season. If a sport does not qualify according to the
NCAA’s, regulations then the sport becomes a club sport, such
as soccer at HPU.
According to HPU’s Athletic Director Russell Dung, the PacWest
conference was looking for individual sports, and golf seemed
to be the perfect fit.
“Golf seems to be doable especially in Hawai‘i,” said Dung.
“Because it’s an individual sport, you can compete as an individual
and as a team. The local teams here can compete against each
other in match play or tournament play.”
Next season men’s and women’s golf will compete as a club to
get a head start and build a foundation for the program. The
following year it will become a PacWest Conference sport.
According to Dung, bowling was brought up because it can be
competed electronically—meaning that teams can compete from
hundreds of miles away from each other. For example HPU can
go to a bowling alley, bowl, then fax their scores to the conference
without the other team being present. At the same time the other
team is doing the same thing.
“There is some question about bowling. We have to get more
specifics about competition,” said Dung. “I think bowling is
very big in the south, but you don’t see too much of it on the
west coast. I do think though it is an up and coming sport.”
The other sport will probably be revealed in an April 24 meeting
among the Athletic Directors of the PacWest schools.
With the addition of two sports to the program, Dung hopes
that it will make the conference more attractive for colleges
looking to join the ranks of Division II athletics.
“I think the goal of the conference is to get more schools
to join, then our sports sponsorship will be more diverse,”
said Dung. “Until then we are just kind of hanging out, but
hopefully in the next two to three years the PacWest Conference
will be expanding.”