Although Boise State’s departure leaves the rest of the WAC on shaky ground, I don’t see how going independent is a viable option for Hawaii. Football scheduling, as the linked article notes, would be a nightmare in the middle of the season (don’t forget that UH found itself in a deep hole in 2007 when two D-1 schools bailed out on playing the Warriors). And even Notre Dame gave up on going it alone in all of its other sports programs.
The scariest part of going that route, though, would be Hawaii’s total reliance on ESPN for its survival.
… While UH receives upwards of $2.5 million for its TV and pay-per-view rights, it would likely have to strike a wide-ranging deal with ESPN if it were to consider going independent. When June Jones was the UH coach, he floated the idea of selling ESPN on a last-game-of-the-night package for UH home games, a concept that has long had appeal at UH but is currently prevented by the school’s rights being tied to the WAC agreement with ESPN.
ESPN’s cooperation on a couple of fronts would be important for any UH bid for independence since without the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which ESPN subsidiary ESPN Regional TV (ERT) owns and operates, the school would have no conference affiliation to fall back on for a postseason bid.
In addition, ERT owns and operates the Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament, which UH hosts.
That gives a whole new meaning to “independent”.
(h/t Her Loyal Sons)