Furtado sees both sides of switch
Chico Furtado spent years at the reins of the Kalaheo girls basketball program, which is why he sees the recent decision to move the sport from spring to winter in shades of gray.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association decided last week to go along with the rest of the nation, moving girls basketball to the winter season. The alternative probably would have been litigation, something that would be too costly for the HHSAA.
Girls hoops had always been under a spotlight of sorts by playing in the spring locally. Still, Furtado sees some good news in the change. Teams will be able to invite mainland teams to preseason tournaments and, conversely, travel to tournaments on the mainland.
The bad news? As much as proponents of the change claim that spring basketball has been a deterrent to college recruiters, Furtado is among many who say it's just not true.
"It's not going to help recruiting. They already get recruiting through summer tournaments," said Furtado, whose Hawaii Select club has taken many players to Nevada and Oregon for tourneys over the years.
Gym space, Furtado added, is another issue.
"If you go all-girls (varsity and junior varsity) teams in the winter, where will they practice? In the ILH, you have intermediate, too," You don't want to practice outside. That becomes a safety issue."
Scheduling becomes more complicated under the new format. "The problem is you might have the boys (team) in Division I, and the girls (team) in Division II. The (athletic director) needs to rent two buses," Furtado said. "The schedule could be a mess."
Then there's the crowded space of winter sports. Even with softball shifting to the spring, girls basketball will likely lose some media coverage.
"Right now, they get all the attention," Furtado said. "In the winter, they'll have to vie for attention with the boys."
All in all, though, he thinks the new format should be implemented in the next school year rather than 2008-09.
"If you move JV girls and boys (basketball) to the spring, it won't affect things as much," Furtado said.
However, as some coaches have pointed out, separating JV from varsity seasons will hinder development of the younger players, some of whom might have had a chance to make the varsity team.