High school classification needs fixing
THE McKinley Tigers players, they should be proud, and they should be jubilant, and they should still be riding a state champion's wave. They should each keep their own little piece of the net in their pockets, and reach down and feel for it, and smile.
And they should stop reading right now.
So should their parents and aunties and uncles and friends.
Please. No further. Stop here.
This is a celebration! Enjoy yourself.
Because the rest of us, well, we've got to talk about Division II.
Introducing the concept of Division II to HHSAA state championship tournaments was a grand and noble idea. Was.
After this latest Division II basketball tournament, I'm starting to wonder about Is.
What started as a great idea is starting to get ridiculous. And no, it's not that the Division II state champion, McKinley, has a higher enrollment (1,877) than the Division I champ, Kaimuki (1,215). Although you could start there.
At one point you had Farrington playing Pahoa. Farrington! In Division II! How is this possible?
How did we get from "The Day the Govs Won It All" to this? That matchup was jarring, on paper. Farrington playing Pahoa. In Division II.
Farrington, one of our state's proudest schools, officially has 2,569 students, or, to put it another way, about 2,000 more than Pahoa does in grades 9-12.
The championship game -- oh, my goodness. McKinley, as mentioned above, an enrollment of 1,877, against Kohala, 297.
Come on. Is this what Division II was supposed to be?
The problem is that much, if not most, of Oahu has no business claiming to be Division II. It shouldn't even be on the table. And yet ...
"At this point we feel that the best option is to leave it up to each league to determine how to classify their schools," said HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya, who was a driving force behind the creation of D-II.
I think that's a bad way to do it. That's how we got Pahoa-Farrington, Kohala-Kaimuki.
Still, Amemiya also talked about small schools -- the ones I'd call truly Division II -- their players, parents, fans, loving the opportunity to play in a state tournament no matter who they have to face. Of Academy of the Pacific and University both bringing their entire student bodies for a Stan Sheriff Center consolation game at 9 a.m.
OK, point taken. I do feel better. But it's time now. Amemiya called Division II "still a fairly new concept that's evolving over time in Hawaii." The matchups in this last basketball tournament tell us loudly and clearly it's time to evolve again.