Tuesday, September 22, 1998

H A W A I I _ P R E P _ S P O R T S

No practice for
ILH ‘redshirts’

Student-athletes who must
repeat a grade would concentrate
solely on academics

By Pat Bigold


The Interscholastic League of Honolulu's longtime executive secretary wants to forbid league athletes held back a year from practicing or training.

Such a policy change could remove a major conflict between the ILH and the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

Clay Benham, ILH executive secretary, said he will propose the change to league athletic directors at their next meeting.

Allowing ILH repeat students to train in the year they don't play --similar to a 'redshirt' year in college -- has been seen by some OIA officials as a potentially unfair advantage to seniors in postseason competition.

OIA athletes are not held back as often as ILH athletes who are enrolled in schools with higher academic standards.

"I will recommend the change because it also unfair to other teams in our league," said Benham. "These students should not be practicing but pursuing academic improvement."

The ILH allows five-year prep students four years of athletic eligibility, even if that eligibility is not used in consecutive school years.

Truth Contest Hilton The state's four other leagues and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association require eligibility to be used in four consecutive years.

Two senior ILH athletes, 1998 first-team all-state twin basketball selections Brad and Cord Anderson, recently were turned down in their appeal to play postseason. They were held back in their sophomore year after transferring from Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

They will be allowed to play only in ILH games.

Benham disagreed with the HHSAA's decision to turn down the Andersons' appeal.

"If any youngster is held back in the ILH, it is for academic reasons," he said.

"Anyone who thinks these youngsters are being held back for any other reason is insulting professionalism."

Benham said that if maturity is a concern, he'd go along with lowering the age limit from 19.

His comments came yesterday after the ILH principals tabled action on a proposal to accept an eligibility plan for the newly sanctioned Oahu Prep Bowl.

The OIA joined the ILH in asking the HHSAA to sanction the bowl this year for insurance purposes. As an unsanctioned event, the bowl did not have enough coverage for a "catastrophic" injury, such as one that might leave an athlete paralyzed.

Because the OIA and ILH have different eligibility rules, a compromise proposal was made to allow all currently enrolled ILH athletes to be eligible. But the proposal would put on notice any football athlete enrolling in an ILH school in January 1999 that he or she must abide by the HHSAA eligibility guidelines.

Benham is taking phone calls from ILH principals on the matter and hopes to have a final tally sometime this week.

Asked if the HHSAA's decision to sanction the Oahu Prep Bowl would be affected if the ILH principals turn down the eligibility proposal, Benham said no.

Benham said he does not think the HHSAA can require the ILH to abide by its eligibility rule because the bowl is not a state championship sponsored by the association.

He said that despite their differences, he is hopeful of a compromise between the two leagues.

"We are doing everything we can to work with the OIA," said Benham.

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