HIGH SCHOOLS: CLASSIFICATION
The answer to the classification issue is keeping large schools to themselves
Pointing out problems is one thing -- progress comes only with solutions.
Yesterday, in the first day of the Star-Bulletin's look at classification in Hawaii high school sports, we looked at the system's shortcomings, as well as some of the challenges administrators face.
Today, we offer the solution -- a set of criteria that would ensure the state's Division II championships give student-athletes at smaller schools a shot at glory.
When members of our staff gathered to formulate our proposal, one of the key questions was whether we would aim for the ultimate restructuring of the state's high school sports or strive to put together a proposal that had a better chance of being accepted.
In the end we decided there is little point in offering up a plan that is not usable and thus would not bring about change, so we settled on the latter. The main concession is that our proposal leaves the leagues to run themselves and their seasons as they see fit, limiting only who they can send to Division II state tournaments.
That is the heart of our proposal - a restriction on schools with large student bodies from participating in Division II state tournaments.
One of the challenges was deciding where to draw that line. No matter where you draw it, you wind up with some similar schools on opposite sides of the line. For example: Aiea, Kaimuki and Lahainaluna seemingly have more in common with Division I-restricted institutions such as Baldwin, Castle and Hilo than they do with their fellow Division II-eligible schools.
But in any classification system a line must be drawn somewhere. The plan we concocted borrows from Texas' system, offering a little flexibility in choosing where that line falls.
The solution may someday include a third division in some sports for schools with enrollments of just a few hundred, but today we offer a plan that we think works for Hawaii now, a system that would turn Division II state tournaments into small-school championships, rather than mere consolation events for schools that can't play up to their size.