Timetable moves up
The HHSAA change in sports seasons will be for the 2007-08 year
Seasons change, but in Hawaii, they'll be changing a bit faster.
The switch of seasons for softball, girls basketball and boys volleyball will be implemented in the coming academic year -- one year ahead of schedule.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association made the announcement official yesterday, although there had been an expectation of this acceleration since the initial vote by the executive board two weeks ago.
The changes required:
» softball from winter to spring;
» girls basketball from spring to winter;
» boys volleyball from fall to spring.
The timetable for the changes falls in line with the need for immediate compliance with Title IX, spurred by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Communities for Equity vs. Michigan High School Athletic Association. Michigan and Hawaii were the only two states where girls basketball was not a winter sport.
Otherwise, the HHSAA would have risked the probability of lawsuits.
"We did want to be proactive and thus immediately comply with any new Title IX requirements that may have resulted from the recent (Supreme Court) decision," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said yesterday. "We did not want a dark cloud hanging over next school year."
University of Hawaii civil rights specialist Jill Nunokawa has spearheaded the charge for change for many years.
"Key individuals saw the need to comply immediately," Nunokawa said. "It's a little late, 12 years late. It's a shame it took this long for this state, especially since (the late) Patsy Mink co-authored (Title IX )."
Nunokawa said she was pleased by the progress and gave credit to Pat Hamamoto, the Department Of Education superintendent. Since 2000, the DOE has worked with Title IX overseers to ensure that all schools are in compliance, she added.
Nunokawa and Amemiya agreed there will be challenges for the state's leagues and schools now that boys and girls basketball are in the same season. Gym time will be a pressing issue, as well as lack of officials and monetary concerns.
"Any transition will be bumpy," said Nunokawa, a former University of Hawaii player. "Hopefully, the obstructionists can help make this work. Any hardship regarding facilities ... the burden of that must be equally shared."
There are advantages to bringing girls basketball in line with the rest of the mainland, including teams being able to travel for mainland preseason tournaments and host events.
"I'm willing to roll my sleeves up to bring premier girls basketball tournaments here," Nunokawa said.
The move also brings boys volleyball and girls softball in line with that of the mainland. Of the two, softball has the bigger issue with facilities. Most schools use park fields for softball, which will now conflict with youth baseball and softball leagues.