Sports

Regional Play One Step Closer to Fruition With HIADA Approval

June 9, 2013, 1:53 PM HST
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WAIKIKI – Neighbor island fans of girls basketball and boys volleyball are one step closer to getting regular access to state tournament play in girls basketball and boys volleyball.

A motion initiated by Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Executive Director Christopher Chun to launch a pilot program that would give league champions an opportunity to host a “regional round” of state tournaments was amended several times before being passed by the general assembly of the Hawai`i Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association Sunday at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Members of 55 schools voted for the proposal with no votes against it. The entire group of 31 athletic directors from the Oahu Interscholastic Association abstained from voting, leaving some suspense for Monday’s HHSAA executive board vote.

“I’m happy that they decided to implement this regional format for two sports,” said Chun after the voting concluded. “I’m curious to see how it will work out.

All members of the OIA delegation abstained from voting for or against the proposal after an amendment from Kalani High School athletic director Greg Van Cantfort was defeated by the entire assembly. Van Cantfort’s amendment, which was presented in front of the entire group, asked to essentially put off the proposal until the 2014-2015 school year. He believed that it didn’t need to be forced through when there are still issues to be ironed out.

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“As a league, we are not against the idea,” said Van Cantfort.

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“We just want to iron things out first,” added Waianae High School’s Glenn Tokunaga.

The HHSAA executive board meets Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the OIA offices on Oahu. If Oahu’s public school association plans to defeat the measure, they may need help from another league to do it. That is unlikely based on Sunday’s assembly vote.

According to Chun, the regional format would allow each league champion in Division I to host a three-team pool that would run over two days. The site would be determined by the hosting league in conjunction with the HHSAA.

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The league champion would receive a bye, similar to the current format now. They would play the winner of the previous day’s game with a spot in the following week’s final four at stake. In the instance that two Oahu schools would be pitted in the regional semifinal, an amendment assured that the game would be held on Oahu. The winner would then travel to the neighbor island champion to play the regional championship game.

Chun says that in that situation, it is likely that the two Oahu schools would play on a Thursday instead of a Friday, giving them an extra day to fly to the neighbor island site.

“We’re not really changing the format of the tournament,” added the HHSAA leader. “We’re playing the same seeding, the same pairings, so it’s just a manner of venue availability and making it work. We’re going to go to places we’ve never been before.”

One concern raised by a member of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s delegation is whether the BIIF may fall out of the hosting rotation for the Division I boys volleyball tournament. Kea`au and Waiakea High Schools shared hosting duties two years ago.

“Sounds like the proposal will mean all semifinals and finals will be played on Oahu. So, right now, in boys volleyball and girls volleyball, the Big Island is in the rotation to host the whole event, and if we stick to the way the proposal is written, you may never see a final or a semifinal on your home island again,” said Waiakea athletic director Tom Correa. “That’s something to try and address in the long run.”

The plan is for both girls basketball and boys volleyball to serve as the pilot sports for the event. Findings from the two tournaments would then be presented at the 2014 HIADA meetings. If everything is successful, more sports could adopt the regional format.

One potential BIIF discussion would be where a regional round would be played. In girls basketball, as an example, Konawaena has dominated the islandwide and statewide scenes for the better part of the last decade. It is not a lock, however, that Konawaena would host a regional if their team is the league champion.

“We’ve got to discuss that. Just to have it on the Big Island is nice,” said BIIF executive secretary Lyle Crozier. “We make money at the (Afook-Chinen) Civic when we host our boys basketball. For the girls over the weekend, we make $5,000 – $10,000, and the boys, $10,000 – $15,000 for the weekend.”

The HHSAA would keep the gate revenue for the regional sites, but the leagues would keep the concession money.

Another proposal that passed through the general assembly involves Division II baseball. The approved motion adds the Big Island into the hosting rotation for the Division II state tournament, which currently is held every year in Oahu.

Passage of the motion would put the BIIF in the same rotation as Maui is in the Division I tournament rotation. Maui’s Iron Maehara Stadium hosts the Division I tournament every three years. When the DI tournament travels, the DII tournament stays on Oahu and is held at Waipahu’s Hans L`Orange Field without television coverage.

If the motion is approved, those tournaments would completely bypass Oahu once every three years.

The baseball proposal only made it to the general assembly floor after a minority report was filed by the BIIF. A committee vote sharply defeated the motion with six voting for it and 20 voting against it. The count narrowed in the opposite direction when presented in front of the entire body. Forty-one athletic directors voted to approve it while 38 more voted against it. Seven more abstained, creating doubt about whether it will succeed in front of the HHSAA executive board.

“I don’t hold much hope for the Division II baseball on a rotating basis,” said Konawaena athletic director Bill Trumbo. “The OIA is not gonna travel.” The veteran AD also raised questions about how the Interscholastic League of Honolulu will vote. Correa raised similar concerns about the ILH’s stance.

“You’ll have league presidents voting with the weight of their whole league,” explained Waiakea’s director of athletics. “The OIA seemed to be against so you’ll know you’ll get those 40 votes against them. The MIL (Maui Interscholastic League) was for, so you’ll get all of the MIL votes. The BIIF is for, and the ILH is a question mark.”

Correa added that the ILH had “a few who were against, they had a majority who was for it, and they had about eight who were abstaining. So, it depends on how the league president will vote because, like I said, he can’t split his vote.” He also said that the Kauai Interscholastic Federation was against the measure, citing an increase in travel expenses.

Also passed Sunday was a measure that would separate scoring in cross country between Division I and Division II.

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