COLUMBUS — Going to and from Hawaii is not an easy trip.
The islands that make up the 50th state sit 2,500 miles off the West Coast and it is a 5 1/2-hour flight from Los Angeles to get there.
Now imagine doing that six times in less than two months. That’s the travel itinerary for the University of Hawaii, who will come in to Ohio Stadium on Saturday and collect a big check for absorbing what will certainly be a one-sided beat down.
Then the Rainbow Warriors will come back two weeks later and do it all over again at Wisconsin. And then they’ll fly back to the mainland four more times to play league games in the Mountain West Conference at Boise State, New Mexico, Nevada and UNLV.
Distance costs a lot of money when you’re located in the Hawaii-Aleutian time zone. And not only do the Rainbow Warriors have to spend money for their own transportation, they have to subsidize their opponents’ travel in many cases.
Part of the agreement when Hawaii joined the Mountain West was that it would pay $150,000 to every conference team from the Pacific time zone when it had to come to Hawaii and $175,000 to schools in the Mountain time zone.
Teams love to use trips to Hawaii as a recruiting tool. But recruiting is another issue Hawaii’s football program faces. It’s tough to keep the four and five-star recruits at home.
And Hawaii coach Norm Chow quickly learned not every recruit who wants to visit does it because of football. Sometimes it’s about sun and scenery.
“That’s a huge problem,” Chow told Rivals.com. “It’s hard to tell if kids are really interested. We’re working on it, but how do you do that? How do you tell?”