`0 Nick Logan is the type of businessman that can sell clients with "Hello." Trouble is, his latest product hasn't sold much in more than a decade.
The Hula Bowl, college football's most storied all-star game and Hawaii's longest-running athletic event, once drew large crowds and primetime television exposure to showcase greats like Fran Tarkington, Mike Ditka, Jim Plunkett, Tony Dorsett, Joe Theismann, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino. But in recent years, attendance figures have plummeted as the game has bounced between multiple venues and ownership groups.
Logan, an evangelical Christian and founder of Cornerstone Bancard, took over rights to the contest two years ago with visions of restoring its former luster and attracting attention to his company's anti-debt prepaid debit cards, a favorite among missionary organizations for funneling money to agents in the field. His plan: Market the game as family-friendly entertainment, perhaps appealing to island vacationers and military personnel stationed on Oahu.
To that end, the Hula Bowl rejects advertising from companies with morally questionable products or marketing techniques. What's more, the game maintains a strict code of conduct for participants, barring players from rooming with girlfriends and enforcing a curfew to prevent nightlife mischief.
"We expect the young men that we invite to this game to hold themselves to the highest levels of integrity," Logan told WORLD. "They're there for football and to display themselves on and off the field as men of character."
For players who chafe against such standards, Logan's message is simple: "Don't come."
That hard-line policy coupled with competition from all-star games on the mainland makes drawing top talent difficult. Some of the biggest names at this year's Jan. 12 contest at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu will stand on the sidelines: Mike Riley of Oregon State and Mike Sanford of UNLV will team up to coach the west team while Ron Zook of Illinois will lead the east.
Logan is hopeful that the game could draw as many as 15,000 fans, a sharp uptick from last year's 8,500 but still lackluster given the stadium's 52,000 seats.
East-West Shrine Game
Houston, Texas » Jan. 19
Mobile, Ala. » Jan. 26
Texas vs. The Nation Game
El Paso, Texas » Feb. 2
Pitcher Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, continues to deny allegations of steroid use made public last month with the release of the Mitchell Report. His attorney Rusty Hardin has announced plans to conduct a private investigation into claims from Brian McNamee that he personally injected Clemens with performance-enhancing substances in 1998, 2000, and 2001.
Hardin claims that former Sen. George Mitchell failed to conduct interviews with critical parties and thus arrived at incorrect conclusions. But federal authorities oversaw the Mitchell investigation's conversations with McNamee, who was threatened with prosecution should he make false accusations.
After the airing of a 60 Minutes interview with Clemens Jan. 6, the heralded pitcher intends to make himself available for more intense media questioning.