Friday, December 3, 1999

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

ILH tackles
the lack of parity
in football

Principals appoint a task
force to investigate ways
it might affect the league

By Pat Bigold


Interscholastic League of Honolulu principals have appointed a task force to look into the lack of football parity in the ILH and its possible harm to the league.

That move came at a special meeting yesterday, attended by representatives of all ILH football schools, according to Anthony Ramos, president of the ILH as well as the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.

ILH athletic sources who did not want to be identified said the meeting was prompted by concerns that St. Louis has become "too powerful" for the league.

"We got into a discussion about parity, equity and sportsmanship," Ramos said. "The balance between teams, the number of players on teams, etc."

The St. Louis Crusaders have been champions 13 times in the ILH, a league of private schools, and this year again ran up some huge scores.

They are heavily favored in tomorrow night's inaugural state championship football game against Kahuku, champion of the public schools' Oahu Interscholastic Association.

St. Louis outscored its opponents this year, 516-110. Its most lopsided wins were an 89-7 defeat of Pac-Five and an 82-0 whitewash of Damien.

Kamehameha defeated St. Louis in their final regular-season meeting -- St. Louis' only loss of the year so far -- but the Crusaders beat the Warriors a week later in a playoff for the ILH title.

The sources said St. Louis' dominance has caused a declining interest in football among students at rival ILH schools.

The league abandoned its junior varsity circuit this year because of a lack of players.

Ramos said that problem was discussed at length.

"We're concerned about the fact that there's a dwindling interest, and the JV program is where it shows itself," said Ramos.

"We need to address these issue and I don't know how we're going to do that, but we needed to get the discussion going."

"We don't want to finger St. Louis as doing something wrong," said Ramos, when asked if the Crusaders' program was at the heart of the discussion.

He said the task force, led by Iolani School headmaster Val Iwashita, will report back to the principals after the New Year.

He said it is "premature" to draw conclusions about causes or remedies.

St. Louis has regularly carried about 90 players on its roster, has a football coaching staff much larger than any other ILH team and a full-time sports information director.

Crusader head coach Cal Lee is currently the league coordinator for football.

The principals held their regular meeting just before Thanksgiving and are not scheduled to meet again until next month.

Ramos did not say which member school or schools were instrumental in organizing yesterday's special meeting.

Football-playing members of the ILH are St. Louis, Kamehameha, Punahou, Iolani, Pac-Five and Damien. Other ILH sports include different teams.

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