The Hawaiʻi State Legislature passed a bill providing $8 million in funding to support the University of Hawaiʻi athletics department.
Under HB 1547 HD2 SD3 CD2, UH Athletics will receive $4 million for fiscal year 2019-2020 and $4 million for fiscal year 2020-2021.
Rep. Chris Todd, who introduced the bill, said the funds will benefit student-athletes across the UH system, including UH Hilo. Todd said the bill was made to provide meals for student-athletes, especially while the players travel to the mainland to compete.
"Previously, athletes have only been provided with one meal a day," Todd said. "Providing meals is an important health and wellness issue for our young athletes and contributes greatly to their success."
In a written testimony, UH Athletics Director David Matlin asked that the funding be allowed to support the athletics program overall, and not be limited to the meals.
The university has higher travel expenses than its conference opponents, according to Matlin.
Last year, the university had $7.2 million of higher expenses that are unique to Hawai'i.
"We still want to make sure our students-athletes are well fed," Rep. Sean Quinlan, who co-introduced the bill, said. "But if UH needs to use the money in other ways that also benefit student-athletes, this fund will be there to help."
The bill was sent to Gov. David Ige for his signature on May 3.