Oahu schools wrest state soccer tournament from Maui
Push came to shove between Oahu's high school leagues and their counterparts on the neighbor islands.
As usual, the "big" leagues got their way, but not without a fight at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board meeting yesterday at Mid-Pacific Institute.
Coming off the heels of the three-day Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference held on the Big Island, Maui schools took a jolt when the board resurrected a previously dead proposal to bring all boys soccer state tournaments to Oahu. The pre-existing format allowed the Maui Interscholastic League to host the event once every three years.
A proposal -- to move all boys soccer state tournaments to Oahu -- submitted by the HHSAA at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference did not make it out of committee due to a "parliamentary procedure" error.
Yesterday, however, Interscholastic League of Honolulu president Richard Schaffer motioned to bring the proposal up for discussion.
That triggered a lengthy debate about the technicalities of reviving an issue that was shot down at HIADA. ILH executive director Don Botelho maintained that HIADA is a "recommending" entity, and HHSAA executive secretary Keith Amemiya reminded the board that precedent for this type of action exists at the HHSAA level.
Richard Young, one of the MIL's representatives, questioned the motive and tactics: "So, if I make a motion, will we open up other 'procedures' as well?"
Shawn Suzuki, a Big Island Interscholastic Federation representative, verbalized what neighbor island administrators feared most.
"My concern, based on the vote count, is that Oahu at any point can take away any tourney," he said, noting the other sports -- football, baseball and volleyball -- that rotate off of Oahu every few years.
Amemiya countered that there is no talk of any other sports being taken from the neighbor islands.
The debate finally came to an end and went 55-37 in favor of the proposal to move all boys soccer state tournaments to Oahu.
"It's gonna come," Young said. "They're gonna take every sport. The biggest disservice is to our parents and our communities. Whatever the ILH and OIA want, they'll take."
EIGHT TEAMS, NO CAN DO
Before the conclusion of the open session regarding HIADA proposals, MIL representative Joe Balangitao brought a motion to discuss the measure to expand the six-team format of state football tournaments to eight.
The proposal was originally submitted at HIADA by the MIL and subsequently defeated.
"The MIL feels it's grossly unfair for the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to sit out (the opening round)," he said. "They get advance scouting and get to rest one extra week."
Balangitao, a former varsity coach, noted the path of Leilehua's 2004 team. After traveling to the Big Island to win its first game (against Kealakehe), Leilehua had to play OIA champion Kahuku, which had a bye. Leilehua won, then played in and lost the state final.
"They had only 42 kids. By that third game, they're beat up," Balangitao said. "In true state football tournaments, everybody has to play every week."
The motion went to vote before the HHSAA board and was defeated 55-37. The ILH and OIA voted against it.
Balangitao felt he had to give it a try.
"At least it gets people thinking about it. We need to hear from the neighbor islands," he said. "No state in the nation, I don't think, plays this way."
Schaffer also motioned to revive a proposal that would guarantee two ILH teams in an eight-team format for the state football tourney, but the motion did not survive.
The OIA's proposal to solidify the current seeding and pairing procedures for 12-team state tournaments did not pass, but was not rejected either.
Voting on the proposal, which went through HIADA 79-7, was postponed until the next HHSAA board meeting in August. The board wants more clarity on the language in the proposal.
The OIA's proposal would potentially give a No. 5 seed, or fifth league champion, a better pairing. Amemiya, however, reiterated his points from HIADA, noting that passage would likely give the No. 4 seed an easier bracket than the No. 1.
Because Division I tournaments have four seeds, or league champions, while D-II has five, Young suggested different formulas for each.
The board opted to hold off on voting until the complex seeding scenarios are shown "with pictures."
As expected, a measure to start Division II state tournaments in baseball and boys soccer was approved unanimously.