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UH moves forward with plans to play football on campus

The Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, located on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus, is pictured. University of Hawaii Athletics photo

The Maui News

With the recent news that Aloha Stadium is not suitable to have fans in the stands, the University of Hawaii Athletics Department announced Monday in a news release that it is moving forward with plans to host football games on the Manoa campus at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, beginning with the 2021 season.

When the announcement came last month about Aloha Stadium, there was statewide speculation that Maui’s War Memorial Stadium would host some of the games on the UH schedule.

A spokesman for UH did not know the status of the possible use of War Memorial when reached Monday.

War Memorial seats approximately 15,500 fans; the Wailuku stadium has the second-largest football seating capacity in the state, behind 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium. It was the site of the Hawaii vs. Montana game on Sept. 8, 2001.

The athletics department is working with the UH-Manoa Office of Project Delivery to design plans that would increase the seating capacity at T.C. Ching from its current capacity of about 5,000, replace the existing turf, install a new scoreboard and speaker system, and upgrade the press box and other amenities needed to host Division I college football games.

“The recent announcement regarding the limitations of Aloha Stadium — home of our Rainbow Warrior football team for more than 40 years — has created an opportunity,” UH athletic director David Matlin said in a news release. “We are committed to transforming the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex into a viable venue for our football team to play home games for at least the next three years. There is a lot of work and collaboration to be done, including with the City & County (of Honolulu) and our neighbors, but we are extremely excited about this opportunity and see enormous potential in playing on-campus for the first time in our history.

“Our goal is to offer a more intimate experience for our fans and a direct path for our student body to engage and create a true college football atmosphere.”

The new Aloha Stadium, which is expected to hold anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 fans, is not projected to be ready until 2023 at the earliest.

Hawaii opens against Portland State at home on Sept. 4. The 2021 season includes six home games.

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