HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
ADs shoot down playoff expansion
The national federation's impact on local decision-makers was never more apparent than it was yesterday.
Falling in line, Hawaii athletic directors approved a measure that could require high school wrestlers to follow strict guidelines regarding weight loss from week to week.
The approval sends the proposal up to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board, which will convene on Tuesday.
On the football field, administrators at HIADA voted down a proposal that would have expanded the state football championships from six teams to eight.
Those were just a couple of many issues that went up for vote at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference in Hapuna.
HAPUNA » The football state championships won't be changing, after all.
Despite a recommendation from committee, the general assembly voted against expanding the fields from six to eight teams in both Division I and Division II. That decision was among a multitude that went up for vote yesterday at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference in the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.
The three-day annual conference concluded yesterday morning.
One of the four committees of athletic directors had recommended passage of the measure, which originated from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Maui Interscholastic League. On Thursday, the committee amended the proposal, which originally suggested an automatic field of two entries from four leagues in the Division I tourney. The amendment dropped the automatic berths and switched to the existing ratio formula to determine tournament entries for unseeded (non-champion) teams.
All that consideration went for naught yesterday when the assembly voted 52-35 against expanding to eight teams. That means the top two seeds in the Division I and II football tournaments will continue to draw first-round byes, much to the chagrin of Neighbor Island leagues.
For the most part, the ILH and Oahu Interscholastic Association have drawn the top two spots from the Hawaii High School Athletic Association's seeding committee.
With the rejection of the proposal, the ILH and its three D-I football teams lost any shot at a second state-tournament berth.
Other key concerns also came out of the same committee (Group 2). The assembly acted favorably on the committee's recommendation to approve Division II state tournaments for baseball and boys soccer -- the only remaining boys sports that didn't have D-II state tourneys. The vote was unanimous, 87-0, in favor of the proposal.
A measure to redo language for 12-team state-tournament seeding and pairing procedures however, held up things for 20 minutes. Separate proposals from the OIA and HHSAA drew a litany of questions and input from nearly a dozen athletic directors during the assembly.
Though the two proposals have similarities at their core, neither gained momentum. Details such as "upper" and "lower" brackets caused a bit of a ruckus, so an amendment was passed to refer to them as "A" and "B" brackets.
"The 'A' or 'B' reference has been a source of trouble at meetings," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said.
Proponents of the OIA proposal, written by Roosevelt athletic director Rodney Iwasaki, cited the transparency and clarity of its details.
"It would be taking the subjectivity (away) from the (seeding/pairing) committee," longtime Roosevelt basketball coach John Chung said. "Teams would be placed (in state tournaments) just on how they finish in their leagues. It wouldn't be based on someone else's desired matchups. There were times when guys questioned the seeding. That's why Rodney proposed it."
However, Amemiya cautioned that there is a strong possibility that in the OIA's proposal, a No. 4 seed could have a more favorable bracket than a No. 1.
"If the (HHSAA) proposal is used, we can clean up the language," he said, referring to questions about certain ambiguities.
The proposals passed by a wide margin, 79-7, and will be discussed at Tuesday's HHSAA executive board meeting.
All HIADA approvals are subject to rejection or passage by the HHSAA executive board, which is represented by one principal and one executive secretary for each league.
Many other key concerns found closure at the AD level yesterday.
» Wrestling restrictions: A proposal to limit a wrestler's weight loss to 1.5 percent per week passed by a 61-21 vote. Hana athletic director Richard Young cited safety as the key reason why the proposal needed passage. If passed by the HHSAA, the proposal would put Hawaii in compliance with a recent national mandate.
Several ADs expressed concern that football players, particularly their big linemen, could have problems dropping weight to qualify for a division with the new limitation. One AD, longtime wrestling guru Carl Schroers of Iolani, voted against it in committee.
"Carl's done a wonderful job over the years of monitoring his kids," Young said. "But some coaches don't. Now they have a guideline to follow."
The assembly also passed a motion to implement a mandatory weight-loss plan for all programs by a 61-21 vote.
» Boys soccer will still rotate: The confusion about Maui's place in hosting the state championships every three years appeared to be resolved. After a committee (Group 3) panned a proposal on Thursday to move all boys soccer state tourneys to Oahu, the issue was revisited on Friday.
However, it was again panned during assembly due to an "error in parliamentary procedure." Technically, once a proposal has "no motion" in committee, it cannot be reborn.
The issue is a potentially heated one for the MIL if it arises again at the HHSAA level.
"We have the facilities to support it," Kamehameha-Maui athletic director Kurt Ginoza said.
Though the HHSAA offered to provide a $2,500 travel stipend for Neighbor Island teams if the proposal passed, Ginoza was unswayed.
"The travel subsidy doesn't cover the cost. This is about being able to attend school and sleep in your own bed during a state tournament," he said.
Paddling, bowling, swimming and football are among the other state tournament sports that have been hosted outside of Oahu. Ginoza isn't sure that the issue is closed.
"There is a level of interest for the HHSAA board when they review this. There are factors in favor of building high school sports on the neighbor islands," Ginoza said.
The HHSAA's proposal cited several factors, including poor hotel accommodations on Maui during a busy season (February) and "significantly less" attendance compared to crowds at Oahu's Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
» Six over four on the track: A proposal to reduce the maximum number of track and field events for individual athletes from six to four was defeated by the narrowest margin of the day. The vote was 45-42.
Kalaheo athletic director Lewis Fuddy empathized with smaller schools like his own.
"This is about trying to be the best you can," he said. A reduction to only four events would be denying an athlete that chance, Fuddy added.
He noted a former Mustang, who once won five gold medals.
Young countered that safety, again, is a major priority.
Waianae athletic director Glenn Tokunaga said, however, that states with the four-event limitation also have two meets on the same day, necessitating the control.
"The smaller schools would've lost out, like Mr. Fuddy said," Tokunaga said. "The coaches know if their athletes can handle the load."
Questions about catastrophic insurance were answered by Amemiya, who said that the event is covered as is (with a maximum of six events for one individual).
Another track and field concern came up for vote on assembly despite being defeated in committee. The minority report noted that athletes who qualified by state standards were not allowed to race in the state meet due to technicalities.
A change in the interpretation of results, proposed by the BIIF, tweaked the readings to a system that is similar to that used in swimming.
The measure passed by a vote of 47-34.
Other notable results:
Canoe paddling: A proposal to change from three heats of eight boats to four heats of six boats was defeated 53-33.
Also, the assembly voted unanimously to ban all use of amplification devices, like bullhorns and whistles. Also, coaches and teammates will not be allowed to run along the course to give cadence to their team.
Cheerleading: Medium-division teams can now have no more than 10 members at the state championships. The previous number was 11.
In another proposal, ADs voted 49-35 to leave the cheerleading state championships at the end of the fall season. St. Joseph athletic director Rachelle Hanohano cited hotel and travel difficulties for neighbor island teams, which come to Oahu for the event in December.
Water polo: The state tournament was expanded from eight to 12 with an 83-0 vote.