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4 Division II boys fields cut to 8 teams


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POSTED: Friday, August 28, 2009

Division II state-tournament fields in four boys team sports were reduced from 12 teams to eight yesterday.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board voted in favor of the measure in a previous meeting, following a recommendation by the state's athletic directors. Yesterday, the HHSAA made it official by selecting one of three possible scenarios.

Boys volleyball, boys basketball, boys soccer and baseball were reduced to eight-team fields. Four of the five leagues voted in favor of the measure. The Oahu Interscholastic Association voted against it, preferring its own proposal that would've reduced fields for team sports in both Division I and II through a ratio formula.

Administrators have studied various cost-saving measures, especially since the state cut athletic budgets to public schools by $1.2 million over the summer. The OIA's proposal, which was bypassed, would've saved the most money. OIA executive director Dwight Toyama cited divisional sports that had relatively low participation. Softball, he noted, has just 23 D-II teams statewide, yet has the standard 12 entries for the state tourney.

However, the other leagues chose the proposal submitted by the HHSAA and executive director Keith Amemiya, which limits the tourney-field cuts to boys sports. Amemiya noted the importance of protecting girls sports. Because of large participation numbers in football, there are more athletic opportunities for boys than there are for girls—a factor that Title IX supporters watch closely.

Amemiya asked the board to come back to the next meeting with potential solutions to the web of intraleague ties and play-in games that precede most of the state tournaments.

Maui Interscholastic League president Randy Yamanuha suggested a pre-set calendar rotation of leagues taking turns—to break ties. That would ease the costs of traveling for a single game or match that would determine the final state-tourney entry.

“;That would at least eliminate last-minute planning,”; Yamanuha said, referring to travel and hotel costs that get pricey without early reservations.

Even with a pre-set schedule to designate tiebreakers, there might be confusion if a league is not in a play-in situation that year, Amemiya said. The solution used before play-in games became the norm was a rotation based solely on taking turns.

Amemiya suggested using the formula results of the previous year as the numbers to use.

“;That would bring certainty,”; he said.

However, that idea had a flaw, too. If a league had seven participating teams in one year, but only four the following season, it would have state entries based on the seven—too much of a drop-off worth justifying, HHSAA official Meredith Maeda said.

Put to a vote, the board voted against a rotational format in the event of ties for a state berth. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation and Maui Interscholastic League voted for the measure, but were outnumbered by the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Kauai Interscholastic Federation and OIA.

The ILH and OIA have won the majority of play-in games with neighbor island leagues; there was no way they would surrender the current system in favor of the new proposals.

ILH boys basketball teams have won their last two play-in games with BIIF opponents on the Big Island by wide margins. Concern about cost issues for play-ins, one voter said, aren't overwhelming.

“;The host league gives the (gate) net profit to the traveling team,”; ILH executive director Don Botelho said.

In some other sports, though, no admission is charged, Amemiya said.

“;I beg the leagues to come up with ideas,”; he said. “;We've dodged bullets for 10 years, but eventually, we'll get picked off (without a solution).”;

Further discussion and a possible motion to vote could happen at the next meeting.

Amemiya reported to the board that the fundraising effort to help high school athletic departments has resulted in about $702,000 so far. Changes were made to two state championship event dates. The cross country championships were moved from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31. Those meets will be hosted on Kauai, though no site has been finalized.

The state cheerleading championships were pushed back from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13 because Stan Sheriff Center was not available on the former date.