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ADs vote to trim tourneys


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POSTED: Sunday, June 14, 2009

One league calls it a necessity.

Another calls it sympathy. Yet another calls it, basically, ludicrous.

With more budget cuts coming to public school athletic programs, several state championship sports were pared across the board yesterday in the final voting of the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference at Ala Moana Hotel. That was good news for Oahu Interscholastic Association administrators, who got support from other leagues, particularly the sympathetic Interscholastic League of Honolulu. Other leagues, particularly the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, never wanted to pare state fields in the first place.

It was a somewhat frustrating weekend for the BIIF, which saw its proposal to use enrollment as a primary criteria for classification rejected in committee on Friday.

All approvals at HIADA advance to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board, which will meet Tuesday. The HHSAA board can reject or approve the athletic directors' recommendations, or even revive measures that died in the general assembly vote yesterday.

For now, three days of meetings and debate are over for the ADs.

Air riflery will have 30 percent fewer competitors in the next state championship. Other sports, like golf, wrestling, judo, cross country and bowling, will be reduced by 20 percent.

“;It's important for everybody to know, it's not 'cutting.' It's suspending for a while,”; OIA executive director Dwight Toyama said.

Concern about budget costs also led to the rejection of a proposal that would have expanded the Division I state football tournament from six to eight teams.

The rejection was a blow for football fans, as well as some coaches, who want to see more of the state's top teams play in the tourney. An eight-team format would have included an at-large bid. On Friday, a committee had approved the proposal 18-12.

It lost on the general assembly floor yesterday 51-22 with 12 abstentions, a surprisingly wide margin. That rejection came even after language that would have placed ILH teams in the same bracket was crossed off the proposal.

Punahou coach Kale Ane, who is also an assistant athletic director, thought at least three leagues were going to be supportive of the measure, but apparently many ILH schools bailed out.

Toyama noted in a short speech early in the session that the BOE would cut $700,000 from athletic budgets in the coming months — on top of $1 million in cutbacks for the past year. The new cuts are expected to impact salaries, and coaching positions may be eliminated.

“;There's a concern about budget cuts (by the BOE). We want to be supportive,”; Ane said. “;It's major. We'll all be affected in some way.”;

But there are still questions about budgets and state tournaments. Neighbor island administrators said, as they have many times, that state-tourney travel is paid for by athletes' parents and has no effect on athletic budgets. In other words, trimming the state-tourney field in individual and team sports is unnecessary, in the long view.

Waiakea athletic director Tom Correa and Hawaii Prep AD Steve Perry were among those against shrinking the fields.

“;A lot of times, the intent of one league overrides all,”; said Correa, a former Warriors baseball coach. “;They do what's best for their league. The BIIF consistently voted against reduction. We'll suffer the most.”;

The conservative approach led by the OIA — the state's largest public-school league — reflects cutbacks in all state sectors, but an eight-team football tournament could generate much more revenue than a six-team field. If an at-large bid, for example, went to an OIA or ILH powerhouse, a semifinal or even quarterfinal matchup between teams ranked among the top five in the state would be very likely. In addition, an at-large bid given to Kahuku, Saint Louis or Kamehameha last year would have meant possibly 5,000 to 10,000 more fans to the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

Those extra 10,000 (or 20,000) tickets sold, with prices ranging from roughly $5 to $10 (children to adults) might have added $50,000 to $200,000 in revenue.

There's also the revenue gained from one additional first-round game. If that game is played on Maui, where postseason attendance ranges between 4,000 and 6,000 spectators, the pluses outweigh the minuses significantly — even in the post-Superferry era.

Football is a clear money maker, but for three years, HIADA members have voted down measures to expand. What athletic program would turn down the opportunity to accept somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 as part of football revenue sharing?

The proposal writers from the Maui Interscholastic League cited the elimination of first-round byes as the main reason for the measure, but voting along “;party lines,”; as the OIA does with great effectiveness, may have cost ADs more than they realize.

The OIA has never had the same football revenues as it did during the Prep Bowl years, when the unofficial state title game between Oahu's public- and private-school champs benefited the two leagues. Since 1999, when the state football tournament was born, revenue sharing with all leagues statewide hit OIA budgets tremendously.

That still doesn't explain why so many administrators are against an eight-team football tourney.

Another proposal, to use a sliding scale or formula to adjust state fields from eight to 12 teams per team sport, passed unanimously. That proposal, from the BIIF, was amended to eliminate the possibility of 16-team fields.

Also, there will be no Division III state tournament even if there are more than 85 competing schools. The original proposal had room for D-III.

MAJOR CHANGES PASSED BY HIADA

HHSAA executive board votes on measures next

CANOE PADDLING

» Decrease tournament entries from 24 teams to 16. Two preliminary heats instead of three.

» Replace Na Opio racing rules with HCRA rules.

CROSS COUNTRY

» HHSAA meets on Saturdays whenever possible.

GIRLS WATER POLO

» Include the Big Island in the rotation for hosting tournaments starting with 2010-11 year.

GOLF

» Allow two designated coaches to coach players after the play of any hole and prior to next tee-off.

JUDO

» Change bracket from 16 players to 14.

TENNIS

» All league tournament winners will automatically earn seeds in the HHSAA tournament. Order of seeding determined at seeding meeting.

TRACK AND FIELD

» Reduce HHSAA qualifiers to 26 per event.

HHSAA

» Teams playing in the final game of first-round play (four games at one site) are not to play the first game of consolation or quarterfinal play the next day.

» HHSAA to create a committee to consider implementing more D-II tournaments.

REDUCTIONS IN TEAM SPORTS

» All team sports, 33 percent of participating teams in HHSAA and league play, rounded to the nearest multiple of four, will qualify for the HHSAA tournament. The minimum number of teams will be eight; maximum will be 12. Excludes football.