Latter-day Saint Life

BYU-Hawaii Announces Plan to Officially End Athletic Program


"The efforts of all who have contributed to the tradition of the athletics program are greatly appreciated," a 2014 statement from BYU-Hawaii reads. "The board, executive committee and university administration feel that the top priority is to serve more students, especially those from the Pacific and Asia."

Following Brigham Young University-Hawaii's final men's and women's basketball games Feb. 20, coaches, players, cheerleaders, students and members of the community put arms around shoulders and swayed together while singing a tender version of "Aloha 'Oe," a song traditionally sung whenever an honored guest or friend leaves the Hawaiian Islands.

In this case, the crowd at the Cannon Activities Center was bidding a fond farewell to the school's intercollegiate athletics program, which BYU-Hawaii announced in April 2014 it would drop to increase international student enrollment.

"It was very moving," said Brad Jones, BYU-Hawaii's athletic director for the past year. "The reality is setting in. It's hard to see. It's hitting a lot of people squarely in the jaw, but we understand these things happen and will move forward."

While BYU-Hawaii spring sports tennis, golf and softball will compete until June, Jones and Dave Porter, one of BYU-Hawaii's winningest coaches, recently spoke with the Deseret News by telephone about the school's decision to drop athletics, the program's storied history and its lasting impact on student athletes.

Lead image from the Deseret News
Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content