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Equity stalls tourney cuts


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POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gender equity good.

Gender equity bad?

For cost cutters who run high school leagues across the islands, things are getting a little more complicated. Yesterday, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board approved and rejected proposals that came from last week's Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference, but one that would adjust the field according to the number of total teams participating in a sport — eight or 12 entries — is being reviewed.

That proposal reads: “;In all team sports, 33 percent of teams participating in HHSAA and league play, rounded to the nearest multiple of four, will qualify for the state tournament. The minimum number of teams will be eight. The maximum will be 12. Football excluded from this proposal.”;

This proposal passed unanimously (85-0) at HIADA, but was put on ice yesterday until the HHSAA could study the matter of gender equity within the numbers. Apparently, the formula could result in more girls teams than boys' teams being cut from next year's state tournaments.

In Florida, widespread cuts to all sports except cheerleading and football is a hot topic. Because more girls teams could be affected than boys teams, the high school association could face potential litigation by gender-equity proponents.

Currently, the HHSAA's state-tourney fields have a 12-team format for both Division I and Division II except in football (six teams for each).

Oahu Interscholastic Association executive director Dwight Toyama reiterated the need for fiscal prudence, noting that in addition to the new $700,000 cut, another $96,000 cut is on the way. That puts the total in lost funding since last year at nearly $1.8 million.

“;We'll have to ask schools to fundraise $2 million just to get to the season,”; he said. “;How are we going to do that?”;

Shrinking the tournament fields is an issue that neighbor-island leagues had already questioned. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation, in particular, noted that travel costs to the state tournaments were covered by their athletes' parents and not the HHSAA or BOE, with the exception of partial costs covered for football travel.

The HHSAA board defeated a couple of golf proposals that had been recommended by HIADA. A measure to allow coaches to talk to golfers between holes was rejected by the board 55-40. The existing rule permits coaches and players to talk only at the “;turn”; between the ninth and 10th holes. This is the second year in a row this measure was snuffed out at the HHSAA level.

The board also rejected a measure that would have changed qualification to HHSAA golf tournaments by a 56-39 count.

All proposals to reduce fields were passed. Proposals to reduce numbers for air riflery and swimming state events were amended and passed, as well. Instead of cropping the air riflery field by 30 percent, the percentage was changed to 20 percent to stay in line with most of the other reductions. Swimming races were reduced from 24 competitors per event to 20.