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Athletic scholarships Part 1: the recruiting process

by Chris Alcantara, associate editor

There are about 125 scholarship athletes at HPU, not including club teams. Curious how or why they got here?

According to the HPU Athletic Office, each Sea Warrior team starts with an NCAA quota of scholarship players, the number determined by such concerns as gender equity, sports revenue production, and other factors. For HPU, according to HPU Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach Russell Dung, the NCAA quotas are: Men’s basketball: 10, Women’s volleyball: 8, Men’s baseball: 9, Women’s softball: 7.2, Men’s tennis: 4.5, Women’s tennis: 6, Men’s cross country: 5, Women’s cross country: 6.

Due to Hawai‘i’s geographic isolation, when it comes to actually recruiting athletes, HPU depends on a number of West Coast scouting services for information on potential players.

“ We can’t always travel to meet all of the athletes we’re interested in,” said Dung. “So when we pinpoint a certain athlete, we will try to visit three or four in the general area.”

Dung says his staff will usually contact the current coach of the prospective recruit to tell them what the program is all about. The easiest part is selling athletes on the idea of living in Hawai‘i. The weather, beaches, and overall atmosphere are uniquely attractive to young athletes.

Traveling expenses, however, limit the number of possible recruits that HPU can actually bring to the islands. The university can’t afford to offer an athlete a scholarship if there is a chance he or she will arrive in Hawai‘i, become disenchanted, and decide to leave. So, the Athletic department must be absolutely sure that the athlete is intent on becoming a Sea Warrior.

“ We usually get the more adventurous students to agree to come out here; a lot of Europeans aren’t afraid of the commitment,” said Dung. “Kids from Europe seem to be more into traveling when they’re young. Europe has a larger number of tall players, too.”

Besides the services, one of the best recruiting tools are ex-players, said Dung. They have been in the program and have a good idea of what kind of athlete the coaching staff is looking for. Also, Dung knows many coaches and has many friends in junior college programs that are known for producing quality players.

After HPU lines up a class of recruits they must wait until the designated NCAA signing period. If they are positive the athletes understand the workings of the program and are comfortable in Hawai‘i’s environment, then HPU will officially offer the scholarship. The athletics department will send the official papers, have the prospective recruit sign their intent to attend the school, and send it back. When the school receives it, the athlete is locked as a Sea Warrior.

“ The main things we use to draw in athletes, basketball players at least, is the television and radio exposure they’ll receive, and of course Hawai‘i itself,” said Dung. “We tell them, people dream about just visiting here everyday, imagine it, you’ll live here.”


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