HIADA conference
set to take on
future of D-II

The state's high school athletic
directors begin their annual
meetings tomorrow in Kohala

Hawaii's high school sports landscape is expected to change this week.

That's no surprise, because the annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference is the place where off-the-field proposals are discussed and voted upon.

The conference's general assembly meets tomorrow afternoon to start three days of talks at the Hapuna Prince Resort Hotel in Kohala on the Big Island.

A large portion of the conference is expected to be dedicated to the future of Division II state tournaments.

One proposal calls for D-II tournaments in all team sports, but at least two athletic directors don't see a lot of expansion in that area this year.

"We in the OIA aren't against the concept, but we do think we've got to be careful about implementation," Castle's Richard Haru said. "We're not ready for a full-on explosion for Division II. There are too many logistics that we can't possibly prepare for. We're already being pushed to the limit on things like finances and volunteers, so adding more teams and tournaments in all sports would be a nightmare."

Haru expects D-II tournaments to continue in softball and girls basketball, and he thinks girls volleyball -- because of a large number of teams in the state -- is the next sport to look at if any other sport is classified.

"How will it be paid for if we expand D-II tournaments, especially with airfares as high as they are now?" Kamehameha-Big Island's Bob Wagner asked rhetorically. "But I do think two divisions is a great idea. In some respects, I think three divisions is ideal. But I'm seeing this through the lens of the Big Island, which has a lot of diversity, perhaps more diversity than any other league in Hawaii. We have large schools, small schools, public schools and private schools."

Separate proposals for creating D-II tourneys in various sports -- including boys and girls volleyball, boys basketball and baseball -- are also on the agenda.

Wagner, however, thinks the process of classifying schools will be the most interesting topic at HIADA.

"One of the proposals is for it to be delineated by a school's size," he said. "Schools would also be able to petition to move up to the higher division. That's how it's done in most states."

The current system of classifying teams has obvious glitches, because schools with large enrollments won two of the three D-II tournaments in 2003-04 -- Aiea in football and Roosevelt in girls basketball.

In football, the D-II tournament is awaiting its final stamp of approval. After years of being voted down, it passed for the first time a year ago as a one-year experiment. By most accounts, it turned out to be a huge success, but opposition may have strengthened behind the scenes.

Changes to state tournament procedures in all sports -- including seeding, pairing and the formula used to decide how many teams represent a league -- will also be looked at.

The Kauai Interscholastic Federation is proposing that the top seeds rotate among the leagues each year, according to league executive secretary Diane Nitta.

According to Haru, the OIA is proposing that the overall number of tournament teams in a sport be based on the amount of teams participating in that sport.

"We had eight teams in the water polo tournament and there's only 23 in the state -- that's 33 percent and that's too high," he said.


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