The future of University of Hawaii sports is in rubble.

And that’s a hopeful thing.

What used to be a two-tiered grass practice field for the UH football and soccer teams has been leveled. In seven months, if state construction schedules can be believed, there will be a new complex for the soccer and track/field programs. While the soccer team will be displaced for practices this coming fall semester and the track program already has been inconvenienced for more than two years, at least there is visible proof of action.

Now it is time for the football Warriors — UH’s flagship athletic program — to also see some display of hope.

The past two weekends, seven football prospects accepted 2025 scholarship offers from the Warriors. Their decisions were largely based on the coaching staff, future teammates, the family atmosphere known as the “Braddahhood,” and the care they will receive through the nutritional and academic programs.

But at some point, recruits need to see that UH is keeping up with the other Mountain West teams in facilities. Is a sports-performance center necessary? No, but neither are power windows. Some amenities are just assumed to be standard issues.

The Warriors’ ultimate goal is a replacement for Aloha Stadium, which was self-condemned for spectator-attended events in December 2020. The Warriors’ temporary home venue, the on-campus Ching Complex, is inadequate in seating capacity (15,300), accommodations for visiting teams (Les Murakami Stadium’s concourse is partially used as a “locker room”), and porta-potty-phobic fans. The Warriors already are struggling to find opposing teams willing to play at Ching. Despite an exemption allowing a 13th regular-season game, the Warriors have booked only 12 games this season, including two against FCS opponents. And coincidence or not, the Hawaii Bowl, which uses Ching as a made-for-television venue, does not have a title sponsor for this year’s Christmas Eve game.

The new stadium project is in the phase of choosing between two developers. And while there are many steps remaining, it is astonishing to see Aloha Stadium still standing. If the progress of the project were measured with a thermometer graph, the red line would be at “freezing.” It’s hard to sell the future when there are swap meets and the state fair conducting business as usual on the Halawa property.

What UH needs is a government leader — or someone who wants to be a government leader — to step up and declare an assurance that a new stadium will be built. Actual renderings — including pictures that include parking — also must be created. It doesn’t even have to be a real cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-spit promise. But something needs to be shown that a new stadium is more than an illusion. If not for football games, but also for graduations and concerts.

UH also should consider on-campus projects for a football team that does not have a grass field for practices. One suggestion being floated is to build a sports-performance center, featuring meeting rooms, workout centers and a locker room for visiting football teams.

During idea-swapping sessions, it was proposed to build that facility in the area between the Ching Complex and Les Murakami Stadium. There is ample room. A viewing deck could be built facing Ching’s field. The football, baseball and softball teams could share the center.

As competition escalates for NIL money and other resources, the Warriors need to show they are legitimate players. Tearing down Aloha Stadium would be a start. The Warriors are deserving of a raze.

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