OIA holding Hawaii hostage
My colleague and long-time friend Paul Honda and I like to debate about anything and everything.
Mary Ann or Ginger. Ginger or garlic. Ono's or Kapahulu Poi Shop. It's probably why we're encouraged not to be in the office at the same time.
Sometimes we even argue about sports.
But I do agree with Honda's reporting that leads to the conclusion that large enrollment schools have no business in Division II tournaments, and a logical remedy is to put the largest 20 or 25 student bodies in Division I for state tournaments, end of story.
HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya did a great job in getting classification started. We all knew it would be a political minefield, and Amemiya has navigated it well. But now is the time to take the next step and bring the OIA in line with the rest of the state.
If the Oahu public league wants to continue using its current system of wins and losses for its internal classification, fine. But the athletic equivalent of dumbing down has to end when it comes to state tournaments.
As today's Q-and-A session with Amemiya shows, there are many benefits to classification. But Kimo Fan on the street was left scratching his bolo head when Farrington and Aiea played for a Division II state basketball championship last season.
The leagues - especially the two on Oahu - have an awful lot of power to dictate policy. It surprises me that the ILH, with all its small schools, doesn't favor barring big schools from Division II.
Amemiya has proven his competence and creativity time after time in his 10 years on the job, so I have confidence in him eventually working this one out.
If he moves on to the University of Hawaii or some other opportunity, this should be near the top of the to-do list for any successor - but he or she might not want to let the OIA know that until getting the job. Yes, the games never end.
Another thing Honda and I agreed on is that three levels of competition would be ideal for high school football in Hawaii.
We may be dreaming a bit here, especially considering the economic situation and the Personal Interisland Transportation Device not being invented yet.
I remember a blueprint Honda produced that neatly divided the state's football teams into three conferences, based on enrollment and tradition (meaning small powerhouse schools like Kahuku in the top division, where they belong).
How about taking it a step further and installing 8-man football as Division III? I've been hearing that some small schools struggling to field teams don't like the idea of 8-man, because it isn't "real" football. If there's a better solution for the Kalanis and Waialuas of the state, I'd like to hear it.
The University of Hawaii has a quarterback named Brent Rausch who throws the football with Brennanesque accuracy. He played 8-man high school ball in California.
For basketball, if the OIA insists on bucking the rest of the state, it can put its mediocre big-enrollment teams in a third division. They can compete for a "state championship," and parents and friends can go watch it at Crane Park. Call your own fouls.
The bottom line is this: Division II tournaments should not be the local equivalent of the NIT.
is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter who covers University of Hawaii football and other topics. His column appears periodically.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org