HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss Athletic Director Richard Giannini released a statement Sunday night regarding the athletic department's decision to accept an invitation to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl:
"With the news of Southern Miss accepting the Sheraton Hawaii bowl, I wanted to let all of our stakeholders know and understand the process that went into making the decision of which bowl game we would accept. If we could not go to a BCS bowl or the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Coach Fedora and his staff wanted the team to go to a special place and reward them for their historic championship season, which concluded with the Conference USA championship title victory versus previously undefeated No. 6 ranked Houston. The conference gave Southern Miss the choice to select any C-USA bowl with the expectation of the Liberty Bowl and Coach Fedora chose Hawaii because he knew 99 percent of our championship football team would not have the unique and special opportunity to visit the great state of Hawaii. I respected his decision and the reasons behind it and I would hope our fans would respect and understand the process that occurred in the decision. During the discussions we reached out to numerous C-USA schools who have participated in this bowl and they raved about the experience for the student-athletes and the uniqueness of the bowl. Postseason play is a reward for our players' and coaches' hard work, dedication, and success during the regular season. We look forward to a great bowl and having as many of our great fans attend that can make the trip."