Khator stresses need to join Power 5
President Renu Khator talked about the importance of UH getting into a Power 5 athletic conference at the annual Staff Focus informational meeting on Monday.
“Either our conference needs to get into the Power 5 and become a Power 6, or we need to be Power 5,” Khator said.
Power 5 conferences are considered the best and most competitive conferences in the NCAA. The Cougars are members of the American Athletic Conference which is not considered one of the Power 5 conferences.
“Our chairman of the Board of Regents, Tilman Fertitta, has made it a very high priority for him, almost a top priority I would say — getting into a Power 5 athletic conference,” Khator said.
Khator said admittance to a Power 5 conference would help the school on many levels, especially financially.
“We need to be competing at the highest level because right now we’re not getting the revenue we should be getting,” Khator said. “If you’re in a Power 5 conference, you will at least be getting $28 million minimum. What we get from our conference right now is $3 million.”
Getting into a new conference isn’t just about the money. It’s also about notoriety, Khator said.
“We want to be nationally relevant,” Khator said. “We used to be nationally relevant back in history.”
Khator also spoke about cost of recent projects for the athletics program, including TDECU Stadium and upcoming renovations to Hofheinz Pavilion and construction of a baseball clubhouse.
“We will have to spend money on athletics in order to keep coaches and facilities,” Khator said. “Nobody else will pay for it.”
She went on to say that while talk of a move into a Power 5 conference would be beneficial for UH, any timetable for that sort of move is beyond the control of the University.
“When is it going to happen? Who knows. Will it happen? Who knows,” Khator said. “We just want to be nationally recognized, playing at that level, creating the kind of excitement, creating the kind of engagement that allows us to be worthy of attention in any conference looking for expansion, so they just can’t ignore us because we are the best of the best.”
But despite the recent success of the men’s basketball and football programs, among others, Khator stressed how important maintaining that level of success is to the future of UH.
“At this point, (what matters is) that we make sure that we keep winning,” Khator said. “At the end of the day, if you’re not winning and you have everything else, who cares? You’ve got to win.”
Additional reporting by Greg Fails.