HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
Athletic directors resist restrictions
Impending restrictions regarding year-round coaching were frozen yesterday by the executive board of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
Meeting for the first time since June, the board addressed several issues, including a July proposal by an HHSAA committee that would have severely limited the offseason freedom of high school coaches. The open session documents for yesterday's meeting in the Oahu Interscholastic Association office at Radford High School were an inch thick. A good chunk of those papers included e-mails from high school athletic directors and coaches requesting exemptions from the proposed restrictions.
Interscholastic League of Honolulu president Richard Schaffer headed off the restrictions, which were part of a package that included sports season starting dates in a motion by the OIA in a July committee meeting. While starting dates remained intact, Schaffer's motion was seconded by the Kauai Interscholastic Federation and passed in voting unanimously.
"We're getting bombarded with calls," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said.
E-mails came from a wide range of sports, from a number of schools.
"For a lot of our coaches, they were taken by surprise," Kamehameha athletic director Blane Gaison said. The delay allows them to plan appropriately for next year.
"This is uncommon waters for us," said Gaison, who sees the pros and cons of the restriction. "There's a good side to it, an upside. The thing is, don't punish the kids. Depending on which league you talk to, it's different. The needs are different."
Other issues were as follows.
» Cheering up. Despite pleas from some of the coaching fraternity, the cheerleading state championships will remain in December. The HHSAA board approved a change in dates, from May to December, at its June meeting. Yesterday, former high school coach Kellie Mikami, an advocate for the sport, said she had spoken with 52 coaches from approximately 20 schools.
Mikami, a former University of Hawaii cheerleader, expressed concerns about the change in dates.
Having the state championships at a much earlier date could pose safety concerns, she said, since cheerleaders usually focus more on sideline routines in the fall and competition work in the spring. "Two-and-a-half months to prepare is hard," she said.
Maui Interscholastic League executive director Steve Kim pointed to logistical hurdles. "Having it on December 10 coincides with the Honolulu Marathon," he said. In addition to a lack of flights and hotel rooms, the shortened time frame makes fundraising more difficult than usual, he added.
Baldwin, one of the stronger cheer squads in the state, has chosen to focus on competition instead of sideline routines. Kim said there will be no cheerleaders at Baldwin football games this fall.
The MIL and Big Island Interscholastic Federation moved to change the state championships to January 27, but Schaffer pointed out that SATs are held on that date. The motion to change the date was defeated, with the ILH, KIF and OIA choosing to keep the Dec. 10 date.
» No Aloha. With Aloha Stadium Authority's decision to lock the facility into a football-only setting, the HHSAA is in a crunch. The baseball state championships were set for the third week in May, but Les Murakami Stadium at UH is not available.
The board will now explore alternative solutions. One would be to move the track and field championships to the third week in May, and push the baseball state tournament to the second week in May when Murakami Stadium is available. The track and field meet is slated to be held at Kamehameha-Maui.
Another alternative possibility is to move the baseball tourney to Maui and bring the track and field championships to Oahu. Amemiya said a decision will be made by the end of next week.
» Rolling Stone wall. Tom Moffatt's plan to bring the Rolling Stones to Aloha Stadium for a Nov. 23 concert is a potential nightmare for the HHSAA. The Thursday night event means there would be less than 24 hours to break down the stage and platforms that come with a Rolling Stones show.
"There's a lot of equipment and staging to dismantle. They're concerned about getting it down in time for the UH (and Purdue) game, and that's on Saturday," Amemiya said. "There's no way they can get all of that down in time for our state tournament."
The HHSAA already has a signed contract with Aloha Stadium for Friday, Nov. 24. The state semifinals are scheduled that night.
"If we have schools with big followings (in the semifinals), like Kahuku, Kamehameha and Punahou, the capacity of our (high school) stadiums doesn't work," Amemiya added. Poor field conditions at that time of the season make Aloha Stadium the only viable option.
» Troublesome ties. With more state tournaments than ever, there are also far more state-berth tiebreaker needs for different sports.
"The ties create all kinds of problems with travel, adjusting league schedules," Amemiya said. "If one team drops out between now and the season, everything is affected."
In softball, the ILH, KIF and MIL have the same mathematical right to an additional state berth. However, there will be no three-way playoff since the three-team KIF declined the possibility of having a second representative.
In boys soccer, the ILH and MIL will need a tiebreaker game for the final state berth. The host, Amemiya noted, has been the league that will travel to the state tourney. That means the tiebreaker game will be played at an MIL site.
The equation is more complex in Division II girls soccer because the ILH, KIF and MIL are tied for a final state berth.
In Division I boys basketball, the ILH and BIIF each have seven teams, which means there will be a tiebreaker for the final state spot.
Finally, there is a four-way tie for the last state berth in the Division I girls basketball championships. Amemiya suggested a modified playoff to be played prior to the state tourney.
» Certifiable. Schaffer motioned for the HHSAA to require a uniform certification process for all coaches. The OIA's Lisa Delong, principal of Kahuku, seconded the motion. The BIIF, dependent on many volunteer coaches, abstained as the vote passed nearly unanimously.
» OIA runs for charity. League chief Dwight Toyama announced that the league will again host an event to benefit charity. All proceeds from a cross country meet this fall will benefit HUGS. Runners will receive pledges to raise the funds.
"I urge other leagues to have an event like this," he said.
» DOE changes requirement. Medical insurance will not be required of individual student-athletes, Toyama said. The change resulted from the departure of Guaranty Trust. While athletes who don't have coverage under their family's plan can qualify under Quest Hawaii, parents are responsible for all medical costs.
"The AGA (attorney general) felt it's still between the parent and the hospital," Toyama noted.