By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
A move to charge out-of-state student-athletes in-state tuition may be a “game changer” for the University of Hawaii at Hilo, according to athletic director Dexter Irvin.
“In our conference, it will make for a more level playing field with the private schools,” Irvin said Friday about the recent University of Hawaii Board of Regents’ approval of a new policy to help the overall UH system, including athletics, become more financially responsible and provide additional oversight.
“The Board of Regents passed a whole new policy and it included intercollegiate athletes,” Irvin said. “Part of the policy allows us to charge all out-of-state student-athletes in-state tuition, and that would save us a lot of money. It doesn’t mean we’re going to have that extra money, but it may free up a little money and that means we’ll be able to recruit more student-athletes.”
In the 2013-14 school year, Irvin said students will pay $17,952 for out-of-state tuition, while in-state tuition will be $6,192 per student.
“With each out-of-state recruit, that’s over $11,000 that we won’t have to pay, and that may open the door to other options for us,” he said. “For example, if a student-athlete’s parents wanted to pay the in-state tuition because it’s tax deductible, we may be able to offer the recruit room and board and not have to pay out a full scholarship to get them here.
“For our tier 1 sports like men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball, they might be able to recruit a few more athletes to help the program that we couldn’t have recruited in the past,” Irvin said. “But the new policy also helps our tier 2, 3 and 4 sports that didn’t offer out-of-state scholarships before and they might be able to do it now.”
Irvin said the new policy must be approved by UH-Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney.
“Once the chancellor gives his approval, we can then implement the policy,” Irvin said.
“We’re excited about the change because it gives us more options. We think we’re going to be able to recruit more out-of-state student-athletes that we haven’t recruited before, and being able to offer them in-state tuition makes a huge difference.”
Vulcan notes: Irvin said the search for a new men’s basketball coach is winding down and he hopes to offer the job to the top candidate by June 1.
He said the five-person review committee had whittled the original list of 361 applicants down to five finalists.
“The review committee plans to give me their finalist list this afternoon, and I plan to interview the top candidates next week,” Irvin said. “If the top candidate is head and shoulders above the rest, I’d like to bring him in for an interview. If the top two or three are close, we’ll have to see how much money we have and if we can bring them in.
“But we’re getting close to a new coach, and we had an outstanding pool of candidates to pick from.” …
Irvin also said he’s awaiting approval from the UH president to combine the two UHH soccer positions into one, a director of soccer. He feels the move will give the soccer program’s director more flexibility in overseeing the two intercollegiate teams.
“I’m hoping to get a decision back soon, maybe as early as next week,” Irvin said.
Currently, Jeffrey “Ziggy” Korytoski is the Vulcans men’s head soccer coach and Unity Beddingfield the women’s head coach.