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Small schools continue to fight for more spots

By Paul Honda

LAST UPDATED: 1:51 a.m. HST, Jun 3, 2011

Often enough, the annual Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference boils down to big fish and small fish.

For smaller schools such as Christian Liberty of Hilo, a shortage of state-tourney opportunities for its boys programs — and all Division II boys teams — is the motivation for a battle every year. Cane Fires athletic director Gary Oertel supported a proposal at the conference, which resumed Thursday at the Ala Moana Hotel, that would have expanded the D-II boys state-tournament fields from eight teams to 12.

The only requirement, if the proposal had passed committee vote, would be for each of the D-II boys sports to have at least 30 participating schools. It was shot down 15-14 with one abstention, but was revived by minority report and will be reviewed for vote at this morning's general assembly.

Adding another four boys teams to D-II tourneys is a potential infringement on gender equity numbers, according to some who debated the issue in the Anterium Ballroom. That group spent nearly two hours entrenched with nearly 20 proposals.

"The big discussion is whether it's really a Title IX issue," Oertel said, noting that there is no real numbers disadvantage between boys and girls when it comes to Division II. "It's not like we're adding participants."


A change to the statewide transfer rule, especially pertaining to Academy of the Pacific and Assets, was defeated in committee 9-8 with 11 abstentions — a turnaround.

On Wednesday, the straw (unofficial) vote in committee was 20-5 in favor, but by Thursday, Bill Trumbo (Konawaena) and Bob Wagner (Kamehameha-Hawaii) changed their stance.

“At the end of it, Coach Trumbo and Coach Wagner said, ‘We’re with you,’ ” AOP athletic director Ryan Hogue said. “They proposed it, but now they’re voting against it.”

One remaining question is whether transfers to AOP and Assets should be permitted to play in the state tournament, according to Christian Liberty athletic director Gary Oertel. In addition, the proposal might be up via minority report, though the report was made by an AD who voted against the proposal. In that case, according to HIADA officials, the minority report is not valid.

The question of whether student-athletes should have an exception and be allowed to play immediately after transferring to AOP or Assets is a long-standing one. Students are often accepted based on special needs. “It’s a privacy issue,” Hogue said. “If a kid gets accepted to Kamehameha as a junior, he or she has to choose whether to transfer and sit (out of sports for a year), or stay at their school and play. I say let the kids play.”


Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser

New Oahu Interscholastic Association executive director Raymond Fujino was a Title IX specialist in 2008 when budget cuts across the board forced athletic departments to made drastic changes. Dropping D-II boys tournaments from 12 to eight teams was the alternative to the original plan: Cut spending in all sports except football.

"I said then that you can't have that language," Fujino said, referring to a lawsuit in Florida regarding a similar scenario. "So instead, they said we'll cut Division II boys (state tournaments)."

There's still a question of what the exact numbers of male and female student-athletes are statewide. Fujino is no longer involved with gender equity compliance.

"I can't be certain that would be in Title IX violation if they added (teams) to the D-II (boys) tournaments," he said. "But the DOE stance would be to not add because of the budget cuts."

For Oertel, explaining to athletes and parents how and why their boys teams don't get the same postseason opportunities as girls teams is never easy. More so because Christian Liberty is a tiny school that doesn't field a football team.

Though the litany of proposals didn't have quite the weight of voting decisions of other years, there were still notable counts.

All proposals that are passed by athletic directors today move up to the HHSAA executive board for approval or rejection.


A measure was passed that will permit the use of distance-measuring devices (DMD) in state championships. Currently, only the Interscholastic League of Honolulu allows any electronic aid.

The USGA does not endorse use of DMDs, but has a provision that allows individual leagues to make autonomous decisions. The proposal, approved by a 20-5 vote, will be up for general-assembly vote today. The devices are not allowed to be shared by teammates.


A proposal to introduce seeding for the judo state championships was defeated. Proponents pointed to the seeding done for wrestling. Opponents noted that there are many preseason, interleague tournaments in wrestling, while only one tourney exists in judo (Mililani), and that's a team format.

Other proposals up for general assembly vote today are: a new uniform correction period of two minutes; a no leg-grab rule will be formalized; sudden death period would be reduced from five minutes to three.


Another proposal that survived to general assembly would allow qualifying alternates to step in at the track and field state championships when heat winners scratch from events.


Soccer was prominent with a proposal to bunch the D-I boys and girls state tournaments during the same week, but that was shot down in committee.


Baseball, softball, track and boys volleyball could move back a week later if another proposal gets through today's vote. The measure passed in committee by a 26-7 vote.

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