University of Hawaii Board of Trustees plans to resolve morale issue in Todd Graham’s football program after hearing


HONOLULU – University of Hawaii board of trustees plans to address issue of football team morale following testimony from former players in legislative hearing that university system president has criticized as being biased.

More than a dozen soccer players have said they leave college upon entering the transfer portal, KHON TV reported. But the chair of the state’s Senate Higher Education Committee, Donna Mercado Kim, said the calls and emails she had received from student-athletes and parents went beyond concerns about the football team.

“We don’t just hear from soccer players, we hear from women’s basketball, from men’s basketball, there are a lot of issues. We also hear from parents,” said Kim, who said she said. felt obligated to hold the information. hearing Friday.

The testimony came mainly from former players and parents and criticized the management of football coach Todd Graham, including his relationship with the players, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Graham was hired in 2020.

Graham has denied being abusive.

“No one has been verbally assaulted,” he said. Graham also said things “clearly weren’t perfect.”

University of Hawaii President David Lassner called the “chosen” testimony provided at the hearing held by the Senate Ways and Means and Higher Education Committees.

Lassner said there was “substantial” written testimony in support of Graham, “and it was not allowed.”

The board is due to meet on January 20.

Graham, 57, is 11-11 in his two seasons at college. He has completed the second year of a five-year contract that earns him $ 800,000 a year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

A veteran of the head coach ranks, Graham led four other programs before landing with the Rainbow Warriors: Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State.

Graham and university officials said they were working to improve communications. Sporting director David Matlin said he had met soccer players following complaints about Graham on social media and that he and the coach had “not had easy discussions about what was wrong “.

The newspaper reported that Graham could be fired without cause if he was paid half of his remaining contract.

State Senator Glenn Wakai asked Matlin if he would buy out Graham’s remaining contract if funds were available.

“No, right now it’s so fluid,” Matlin said. When taken further, he characterized the issue as hypothetical.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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