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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, April 6, 2000

Girls’ hoops should
stay in spring

TWO things you can't argue about - politics and religion. No matter how reasonable or persuasive your arguments, the other person just is not going to be convinced.

You can now add gender equity to religion and politics.

It seems that one could argue about gender equity until you're blue in the face. There seems to be no middle ground because it's so difficult to remain neutral.

Citing money costs, San Diego State has decided to drop men's volleyball. But you can bet gender equity had a lot to do with it. It's the real reason why more colleges aren't adding it to their programs.

Locally, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association is now wrestling with the problem of complying with the issue of gender equity.

One of the issues shouldn't be an issue: that the high school girls here don't play concurrently with the boys during the basketball season.

This isn't in compliance, say some feminists who feel that this isn't giving girls equal time with boys.

Never mind that in a survey conducted by the HHSAA, more than 80 percent of the players and coaches polled said that they would prefer that girls' basketball not be changed from spring to winter.

Girls' basketball in Hawaii isn't played during the winter for two reasons - lack of officials and lack of facilities.

One could add lack of after-school hours as well, if both the boys and girls - and their schools' junior varsity teams - all have to share gyms for practice times and games.

HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya feels, and rightly so, that girls playing basketball in the spring shouldn't be viewed as a violation of Title IX and gender equity.

It's a matter of practicality.

While there are several advantages to the girls playing during basketball's regular season - such as playing in preseason tournaments with mainland schools and getting recognition when national awards are passed out - you'd figure that practicality would win out.

As for the argument that playing during the spring hurts the girls' chances for college scholarships, it's not necessarily so.

The signing date for college scholarships is in November, before anyone has played their senior year. So most coaches have an idea who they want to recruit while they're juniors.

If anything, with the girls playing in the spring, mainland college coaches have an opportunity to watch the players here - something they can't do during their season when their teams are playing.

But the biggest reason why moving the girls' basketball from spring to winter would be a mistake isn't just the lack of facilities in which everyone would be short-changed in practice hours.

Both the boys and girls would be short-changed in terms of newspaper coverage as well.

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but girls' basketball is getting good space right now. Even having their scores and highlights on television.

It would definitely change if they have to fight for space in the sports pages if the boys are also playing at the same time.

That's not counting competing for space with UH basketball and Wahine volleyball locally, and college hoops, postseason football games and the NFL nationally.

With separate seasons as they are now, the girls and boys get equal treatment in media coverage.

If the seasons run concurrently, it would mean double the teams and half the coverage due to the space constraints.

It's as simple as that.

Leave the girls' basketball season where it is on the calendar.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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