A couple of weeks ago I wrote that maybe the time is now to take another look at charging attendance for University of Hawaii softball; it’s the most exciting game on campus right now, and the Wahine are on the verge of a WAC championship and possibly the single-season NCAA team home run record.
Charging for softball didn’t work when it was tried 10 years ago when UH also had a very marketable and successful team. I don’t think it was even considered a couple of years ago when Kate Robinson led the Wahine to the super regionals. I understand how coach Bob Coolen and the athletic department don’t want to scare off the developing fan base that is used to attending games free of charge.
So it looks like some fans have come up with a good compromise, at least for the time being until the offseason when UH can consider the topic for the coming years: Athletic director Jim Donovan said volunteers will man donation boxes at tonight’s game against Fresno State. All proceeds will go directly to the softball program, Donovan said.
Donovan said it’s a trial run.
“We want to make sure it’s non-intrusive and people don’t feel pressured, that they know it’s strictly a voluntary donation,” he said.
For future seasons, especially considering the youth of the nationally-ranked team that is undefeated in the WAC?
“We’ve had discussions about free versus not-free, and we’ll kick the tires on it. The jury’s still out,” Donovan said.
–By Dave Reardon