BYU-Hawaii athletic dominance will be coming to an end

Kevin Hu drives to the hoop aggressively against Pablo Coro of BYU-Hawaii


Kevin Hu drives to the hoop aggressively against Pablo Coro of BYU-Hawaii

By Kiran Shastri, Staff Writer

Prior to each season, the Chaminade men’s basketball team looks forward to a handful of games for the upcoming season. Those games are the ones at the Maui Invitational, against Hawaii Pacific, and lastly against BYU-Hawaii.

The inter-island rivalry of the Silverswords vs. the Seasiders goes back to the mid-1970s, but there are incomplete game schedules and several game scores are missing, and sometimes whole years, so the career head-to-head matchup series is not available. While historically BYUH has been the more successful team head-to-head, since the start of 2010-2011 men’s basketball season, the Silverswords have won nine of the last 13 meetings. And since I became a part of this rivalry in the beginning of the 2013-2014 season, I have a slight edge at four wins and three losses.

Going against BYUH means you have to be mentally and physically prepared for 40 of the toughest minutes of your life. Three of those games were decided by three points or less, and two of them were decided in overtime. It’s always a fun, exciting and up-tempo game for the players and a great watch for the fans.

This lively atmosphere and competitive fire will soon come to an end though as BYUH announced in March 2014 that it will be eliminating all sports programs in 2017.

BYUH’s sports teams are always atop the PacWest Conference year in and year out. In 2008 the PacWest Conference established the Commissioner’s Cup to honor the athletic program with the best overall success in that academic year. BYUH won the first ever PacWest Commissioner’s Cup. Since then, BYUH has earned one second-place finish, three third-place finishes, and two fifth-place finishes. Never have they finished out of the top five in the 13-team league.

BYUH has delivered some of the most brutal and heartbreaking losses of my collegiate career, as well as been on the receiving end on some of the most devastating losses that my teammates and I have given out in our career. Whether it was Lee Bailey draining a 3 off a ball pick from Tyree Harrison to the give the Swords a 105-102 win in overtime, which happened in the first matchup between us two during the 2013-14 season. Or Robbie Mitchell, guard for BYUH, driving coast to coast to make the game-winning layup in overtime against the Swords, in the second of three matchups during the 2013-14 season. Or defeating BYUH in the first round of the 2013-14 PacWest postseason tournament (which was the last meeting that season), in which we continued on to eventually cut down the nets, winning that tournament, and moving on to the NCAA round of 64.

Now why would such a decorated sports program in BYUH even think about phasing out all of their sports programs? Here’s why: BYUH wants to cut the sports program completely so they can put their funding into boosting their enrollment. The current enrollment there is at 2,700. They are looking to boost their enrollment to 3,200 for a 20% percent increase in students. With the funding going toward enrollment, BYUH is allowing more students from the Pacific as well as Asia to be admitted into the school.

Along with BYUH wanting to shift their focus from sports to enrollment, another factor that was addressed was that due to the trends that have been taking the collegiate sports around the nation by storm, that is a direction that will be challenging for a small-sized institution like BYUH to keep up with.

Should this worry the likes of other small-sized institutions, perhaps like Chaminade? Are other universities in the works to make the same move as BYUH? Anything can clearly happen, regardless of how successful the program has been.

CUH bested BYUH 115-86 on Saturday at McCabe Gym to sweep the season’s two-game series.