HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Hawaii’s D-II colleges looking to add 3 sports
The PacWest schools would compete in men's and women's soccer and women's basketball
Hawaii's NCAA Division II institutions -- Brigham Young-Hawaii, Chaminade, Hawaii-Hilo and Hawaii Pacific -- have put forth a proposal that would add another mainland school to the Pacific West Conference. And in doing so the four local schools would add women's basketball and men's and women's soccer to their list of varsity sports.
"I think it's wonderful," HPU athletic director Jill Ward said last night.
The proposal, which the conference announced yesterday, would add Grand Canyon in Phoenix to the PacWest, giving it an NCAA-eligible six members. Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Calif., was a provisional member of the conference this year.
After two mainland members dropped out last year, the Hawaii schools operated as the PacWest under an NCAA waiver for the 2005-06 sports season.
The NCAA also requires each sanctioned conference member to sponsor 10 sports, including two team sports for each gender. The new PacWest would sponsor men's basketball, cross country, golf and soccer, and women's basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball, meaning each of the Hawaii schools would conceivably add three new team sports by next school year.
"It's a nightmare," UH-Hilo athletic director Kathleen McNally said. "It's a nightmare not because of (the excitement) of getting teams up and getting them going -- it's the process of doing it."
McNally said UH-Hilo will begin getting the word out immediately about the new teams, and knows the three other Hawaii schools -- which stuck together in vowing to keep their conference alive -- will be doing the same.
"We're all comfortable with the fact we're fighting the same uphill battle," she said.
The Hawaii institutions saw the new conference as a great opportunity to add women's basketball, school officials contacted last night said. The Hawaii schools were among the few in the country, and the PacWest was among the few conferences in the country, without the sport.
"It has been extremely difficult without women's basketball," McNally said.
In order to comply with NCAA rules, the conference will subtract men's tennis and women's golf. The schools may opt to keep the sports and compete as independents, though.
Notre Dame de Namur is in the first year of a four-year provisional NCAA membership after having switched from the NAIA, and the proposed conference is asking for a waiver to accelerate the process. The PacWest's entire plan to expand also has to be cleared by the NCAA.
"It is a lot of work," Chaminade athletics director Matt Mahar said, "but the teams we added are going to be competitive immediately and bring a lot to the table."