I'm not all that shocked that Hawaii turned this down. Despite what was reportedly a $600,000 offer that we could have desperately used, it's not ALL of that money that would go to the athletic department. Indeed, unless there were small portions of the negotiations that I was not aware of, UH must pay, from the lump sum, things like travel fees, food, etc. etc.
There's also the issue of safety. UH, particularly coming off a game against Nevada where there were a rash of injuries (including one to Grener and Taylor Graham) probably felt like the risk to its players outweighed the potential monetary gain (a lesson the NFL avoids like the plague.)
Still, I have to agree with Stephen Tsai here. UH should have played the game. This was a winnable game, and could have been a great PR story (could have been pitched as a pick-me-up for the Boulder area that was devastated by floods.) And some extra cash doesn't hurt. But then again, it's not my body on the line.