Tuesday, May 6, 2003


Alternate proposal
for classification
to be presented

It would separate public
and private schools in state
tourneys in all sports

Title IX, costs concern Toyama

High school athletic directors interested in state classification will have more than one option to review at their annual meeting next month.

Waimea AD Jim Kitamura and girls volleyball coach Doc Arrington plan to present a proposal to classify all sports, not just football, at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference June 11-13 on Maui.

The proposal is radically different than a plan put together by Interscholastic League of Honolulu executive director Don Botelho and supported by Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya.

Kitamura and Arrington's proposal calls for separating public and private schools for state tournament purposes. Twelve public school teams and 12 private school teams would then be split into two divisions (A and AA) each, which would lead to four state champions in each sport.

They've sent their plan to other athletic directors across the state and will be formally presenting it to the HHSAA this week.

For years, Arrington complained to Kitamura about the inequity of public schools playing against private schools to determine a state champion. Kitamura told him to find a solution instead of complaining about it.

So for the past year, Arrington compiled state tournament statistics from 1978 to 2002 and researched how other states classify their sports. He now feels he can back up his claim of inequity with numbers.

Arrington found that:

>> Hawaii private schools won 69 percent of the state championships with only 21 percent of the student base.

>> The top six private schools won 377 state championships, while the top six public schools won 73 state titles.

>> There are about 50,000 students in grades 9-12 attending public schools and only about 8,000 in private schools.

>> No public school with 400 students or less has ever won a state championship.

>> Fifty percent of the state championship games involved two private school teams and only 15 percent of title games involved two public school teams.

Kitamura said he welcomed input that makes the proposal better. He realizes the number of football teams in a private school tournament probably need to be reduced.

The proposal would give some of the smaller schools -- such as the ILH's Hawaii Baptist and Word of Life, which already play a Division II regular-season schedule -- a realistic chance at a state title in sports such as volleyball and girls basketball.

"We want to give little schools a chance," Kitamura said. "But it's not just enrollment that makes a school play good. It's the kind of student-athletes they're getting."

Under Botelho's plan, a four-team Division II state football tournament would be created in addition to the existing eight-team (which would be called Division I) tournament. Prior to the season, leagues would determine which teams are Division I and which teams are Division II.

Like Botelho's plan, Kitamura's proposal would select teams for a division based on enrollment and other factors such as strength of the school's program. Kitamura said it's possible that larger schools such as Farrington and Waipahu (each with about 2,500 students), who have never won a state championship in the last 25 years, could be classified as Division AA.

Kitamura expects people to criticize his proposal and say four state champions in each sport is watered down and not a true championship.

"Tell the 49 other states that they don't have a true championship, either," he said. "All of them have divisions except us."

He intimated that private schools tend to recruit players and said other states that combine public and private schools for state tournaments "adhere to strict prohibitions against recruiting."

"We don't have that here," he said. "It might sound like I'm against the ILH, but I'm not. But they can't solve their own problems and rules. They're scrambling for games because the smaller schools don't want to play the bigger schools. Damien almost pulled completely out of its two-game series against Saint Louis. They realize the inequity in their own schools."

Kitamura addressed the possible loss of private school vs. public school rivalries such as Kahuku vs. Saint Louis.

"They can still have their Prep Bowl after the state championship," he said. "Call it a Super Bowl or something else. It's not going backwards. Our plan for state tournaments will give more kids a chance and stay away from elitism."



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