HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Girls basketball will move to winter for 2008-09 season
Girls basketball will be played in the winter beginning with the 2008-09 season, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced yesterday. Hawaii is the last state in the country to move girls hoops to the winter, where it will be played alongside the boys.
Michigan was the only other remaining state to have girls basketball in the spring, but a recent ruling by the Supreme Court forced that state to make the switch.
"I feel justice delayed is justice denied. People say, you should be happy now, but I would've been happy in 1981 when I graduated in high school, if someone would have pushed it," said Jill Nunokawa, a civil rights specialist at UH and former UH Wahine player. "The student-athletes shouldn't have to feel inferior. It's been important for more than 12 years. It's an ongoing violation of state and federal laws about non-discrimination," she added.
Softball will move from winter to spring to make space for girls basketball in the busy winter season.
"Obviously, there will be problems we'll encounter, but we have to be adaptable and flexible," Interscholastic League of Honolulu executive secretary Don Botelho said.
Girls basketball has much of the spotlight in Hawaii by playing in the spring, but proponents of change, like Nunokawa, had long pressed for winter hoops.
HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said the HHSAA will abide by the nationwide pattern. "I'm sure it'll be a challenge, but we really don't have a choice. The U.S. Supreme Court has basically ruled that we need to switch our seasons, and if we don't, we'll likely get sued and lose," he said.
The HHSAA executive board also banned two Kealakehe boys soccer coaches for five years due to an incident during the state championships last month.
The board, which met yesterday, voted unanimously to ban Kealakehe head coach Urs Leuenberger and assistant coach Miles Nakahara from coaching in any HHSAA state tournament for five years.
A letter from HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya to Kealakehe principal Wilfred Murakami detailed the incident.
Nakahara verbally abused and physically confronted the tournament director, Greg Van Cantfort. He also challenged Van Cantfort, who is also athletic director at Kalani, to a fistfight.
Nakahara also yelled and swore at Kalani assistant athletic director Amy Tong.
The letter also noted that Nakahara poked his index finger repeatedly in the chest and near the face of boys soccer coordinator Richard Haru, threatening the Castle athletic director by saying, "Don't let me catch you outside."
The Kealakehe assistant also was confrontational with Roosevelt's AD, Rodney Iwasaki, and cussed at officials coordinator Jan Allen and assistant coordinator Clem Young.
The series of incidents lasted several hours, according to the HHSAA's letter, and only ceased when officers were called to the scene.
In a Star-Bulletin story following the incident, Kealakehe athletic director Mike Hernandez expressed regret, noting that his coaches had no complaints about the tournament schedule and pairings for several days before the tourney.
The day after Kealakehe lost to Punahou in the opening round, Nakahara initiated the incident at the press box at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium, moments before the Waveriders' consolation-round game.
"We regret to have to take this action, but given the circumstances, we were left with no other option," Amemiya said.
Big Island Interscholastic Federation executive secretary Roy Yamase understood the HHSAA's ruling.
"I hope it never happens again. It was a very unfortunate incident. I hope it never repeats itself," he said.
Other topics for discussion included:
» Most schools have accepted free AEDs, better known as defibrillators, as gifts from HMSA.
Free training will also be provided to schools, though Amemiya mentioned that the state-of-the-art AEDs come with built-in instructions.
» The association confirmed that legendary Punahou athlete Charlie Wedemeyer will be inducted into the High School Hall of Fame this summer.
The process of selection involves three screening committees, Amemiya said. Wedemeyer was a four-sport sensation, but is also widely known for his motivational talks with the help of wife Lucy. The former coach has overcome ALS for more than two decades.
» The BIIF announced plans to organize a sportsmanship summit in July.
» A committee of league representatives will meet in early May to discuss transfer rules.