HILO, Hawaii: Word of a push to bring Division II college volleyball to the University of Hawaii-Hilo has been spreading on social media circles lately.
Supporters wishing to sign up are being directed to this online petition, apparently started by a recognized name on Hawaii Island, Elroy Osorio.
According to Osorio’s petition to the UH-Hilo Office of Intercollegiate Athletics:
I’m certain that you are aware that in terms of winning records and national recognition, perhaps the most successful sports program in the history of UH Hilo Athletics has been the women’s volleyball program.
This is largely because the NAIA and NCAA Division II competition allowed us to recruit locally to establish the program, and then nationally and even internationally to perpetuate it.
But the key to the success and support of the program has always been substantial local interest in competitive volleyball.
While UH Hilo has to a certain extent capitalized on that success, the University has failed to follow through with the logical extension of that success; that is, to establish a Men’s Division II Volleyball program. The imperative to do so now should not be ignored.
We cannot dismiss the relationship between recognized athletic and academic competence at the university level; the more courses of study offered, the greater likelihood of increasing and sustaining student enrollment.
Similarly, increased opportunity for athletic participation not only appeals to the student athletes themselves, but to the larger student body. With few exceptions, students appreciate being part of a nationally recognized program, if only as fans and spectators.
And obviously, the appeal to Alumni (especially those who contribute to the financial support of the athletics component) cannot be overlooked.
But the real imperative for establishing such a program is the University’s responsibility to the larger community. Each year, we see an increased interest in boys high school volleyball competition, not only on this island, but statewide.
Our local schools have produced outstanding players who may not be ready or proficient enough for NCAA I competition, but who could certainly thrive and develop at the Division II level.
And it is not just a matter of physical competence, more often it’s a matter of simple economics.
Our local boys who might not be able to secure an athletic scholarship for volleyball at UH Hilo would still be more likely to enroll if the prospects of participating, even as a walk on, were available.
Every year that passes without such a program denies some of these young men an opportunity to pursue not just athletic, but concomitant academic development.
We implore you to support this initiative.
At the time of this posting, the petition has been signed by a handful of people.