HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Seeding proposal dies before vote
The BIIF's plan wanted to allow third and fourth seeds to host playoff football games
WAILEA » The neighbor islands didn't get much love in the only football-related item at the 46th annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference.
The annual meetings, which began Thursday at the Wailea Marriott Resort, continued yesterday as caucuses fleshed out a multitude of proposals that will be voted on today.
One of them was a Big Island Interscholastic Federation proposal to allow the third and fourth seeds in the state football tournament to host opening-round games. That was shot down in committee on Thursday night, but further discussed yesterday.
Normally, the third and fourth seeds have been neighbor-island teams.
"It'll be up to the HHSAA (executive) committee to decide," Konawaena athletic director Lyle Crozier said. "Last year would've been a good scenario for us (BIIF) to host both."
Kamehameha-Hawaii won the BIIF Division II title last season, while Kealakehe won the D-I crown. That would have been a suitable hosting scenario, Crozier said.
"If the teams are from the same side of the island and host on the same day, that will hurt the gate. We don't want to be stuck in that situation," he said. "It's good that the committee can use its flexibility and made a decision."
Kamehameha-Hawaii athletic director Bob Wagner sees no problem with two games in East Hawaii in a two-night span.
"If we played on Friday and let's say Hilo played on Saturday, you're going to draw well on both nights. Neighbor-island people are more excited about playing Oahu schools," the former University of Hawaii football coach said.
Still, there's no guarantee the committee would permit the third and fourth seeds to host, as the proposal rejection showed.
"Some people are set in their ways. Anything that the neighbor islands want needs the support of Oahu," Wagner added.
Though a proposal from the MIL to mandate a common, statewide criteria for classification was shot down Thursday night in committee, administrators were still talking about it.
"There's no progress as far as using enrollment. Each league wants to have control over its own rules," Hawaii Preparatory Academy athletic director Stephen Perry said. "As long as some leagues are using a power rating (win-loss records) to determine who's in Division II, it's like treating D-II like a junior-varsity championship. It will always be viewed as a lesser tournament."
Ken Yamase, who will leave his post as athletic director at Waiakea to become the BIIF's new executive secretary, wasn't so adamant about cut-and-dry formulas.
"There's no one-size-fits-all solution. If we went strictly by numbers, some leagues would be in jeopardy," he said, pointing to the Kauai Interscholastic Federation. Using 1,000 as a cutoff point in enrollment, part of the three-team KIF would wind up in D-I, the others in D-II. "And it would have a devastating effect on the OIA."
Kailua AD Mel Imai noted that scheduling problems would arise if the OIA were to use an enrollment-based method.
"There's only a few schools that are under 1,000 students," he said. Kailua, with 956, would be caught in that net.
Yamase pointed to mainland associations that use a multiplication method to determine state-tournament berths and classification. Some associations use a ratio of 2 or 1.7 when weighing teams from private- and public-school leagues.
"The two-times factor is for single-gender schools," Yamase said.
This is the third year in a row that classification criteria has been on the agenda without advancing out of committee.
"I don't think there's an attitude of, 'just forget it.' If the governing association says, 'This is it,' that the executive board goes this route, we would all have to follow," Yamase said. "But you can't make a blanket rule at this time."
He noted that the state associations elsewhere that use a multiplication formula still have their fill of problems.
"They're not satisfied. There's not 100-percent agreement, but everyone abides by their rule," Yamase said.
Seabury Hall athletic director Steve Colflesh, who penned the recommendation for common statewide criteria, wasn't surprised.
"It's too difficult to come up with a criteria for everyone," he said. "With only two divisions, you can have extreme cases. It's much more difficult."
Currently, the Oahu Interscholastic Association uses a power-rating system based on a two-year win-loss record. Each school's junior varsity success is also factored in.
The ILH and BIIF rely on power ratings, as well, but also incorporate enrollment. The MIL made a clear-cut split of divisions a year ago.
In another committee, the BIIF's measure to bring Division II state tournaments to all team sports failed. However, the MIL's proposal to add girls soccer and boys basketball into the D-II fold made it through committee and will be up for vote today.
If that passes, then is approved later this summer by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive committee, only boys soccer and baseball would remain as team sports without a D-II state championship.
The BIIF will still attempt to bring its proposal to the floor today through a minority report.
A detailed analysis of how revenues and expenses would be handled is lacking, at least in the eyes of some athletic directors.
The MIL's proposal has some ground to stand on because of the success of the Division II girls basketball state tourney, which was played entirely at McKinley High School's gym. In the 1970s, a Class A (small school) state tourney was held annually on the neighbor islands with mediocre attendance.
Adding baseball would have created an imbalance in terms of Title IX, and that may have been a stumbling block, Colflesh said. Overall, however, the longtime administrator is optimistic about the direction HIADA and the HHSAA are going in.
"We're unique, but it's working. Competition is good, more kids are playing in the state tournament, no question," he said. "We have to have patience."
The numbers for this past year's Division II state tournaments are positive, Laupahoehoe athletic director Hisao Sato said.
The exception was softball, but fans did not pay admission for the first two days.
Exception noted, the success of D-II has been a bit of a surprise considering that the HHSAA sped up the time machine when it came to adding boys and girls volleyball in 12-team formats. Playing at high school gyms, as did the new 12-team format in girls basketball, attendance was healthy enough to put the events in the black.
Still, when proponents of a Division III format speak up, longtimers like Yamase want to see more evidence that D-II is flourishing as opposed to staying afloat.
"We have to have a financial statement. We can't keep putting on events that drain the state association," he said. "We need to be sound in Division II."
Wagner has been a vocal supporter of D-III, but even his own league won't put the topic up for broad discussion.
"When they say they want a financial statement, that's what they say to slow things down," Wagner said.
What Wagner envisions is three divisions, three state tournaments for team sports with eight entries in each. That would suit his school perfectly.
"We're not really a Division-I championship school, not on a state level, but we're not a small school, either," he said. "Four schools -- Punahou, Iolani, Kamehameha and Kahuku -- won 80 percent of the Division I state titles this past year."
As for the state's smallest schools being able to afford transportation for a Division III state tournament in the future, both Wagner and Sato see no problems.
"They'll do it. They'll raise money and do it," Wagner said.
"Obviously, it would give our kids an opportunity to compete at states to compete against similar-sized schools," Sato said. With an enrollment of 70, Laupahoehoe qualified for the boys state volleyball championships last fall and won the consolation title.
"I think Division III would be a good thing for us," he said.