HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow – While it’s not the most common topic for legislators, a powerful state senator has serious concerns about the possible mistreatment of student athletes in the University of Hawaii football team.
Friday’s briefing at the state Capitol will focus on the budget for athletics and issues related to football.
However, the important topic is Todd Graham’s allegations of toxic coaching and players who have transferred.
Donna Mercado Kim is the chair of Senate Higher Education Committee. She says she doesn’t usually step in, but was called for the briefing by a flood of complaints received over the past several months.
Kim explained that she has heard from people who are very trustworthy.
It’s not just the rumor mill that is worrying. There are coaches, former coaches and athletes, as well as administrative staff members at the university who are also concerned. I’m not there so people must contact me to get information.
Officials at UH confirmed Wednesday that the senators have invited them to the briefing. Representatives from the university will be there to answer questions.
Kim hopes to hear from UH leaders, though it is not yet clear who will be there.
Kim explained that we are holding them responsible.
We want to find out what they are doing. What are their plans? What is their plan of action? How are they going about resolving this? Are they actually taking this seriously? Apart from the budget, these are some of the issues. So I hope, we’ll shed some light on some of it.
Athletics Director David Matlin wasn’t available for an interview Wednesday, but officials at the university cited his remarks in a statement from last month.
We cannot ignore the need to improve in certain areas. He said that Coach Graham and me are in constant communication and are always looking for ways of improving the program.
To all our supporters and past Rainbow Warriors, we ask that you keep the faith. We work tirelessly to ensure that this program is a success.
Public testimony is now being accepted to the Friday afternoon briefing. It is available online.
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