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ADs kill 3 issues, consider proposal on tourney berths

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Thud, thud, thud.

With one night and a morning full of discussions and debates, three key proposals were shot down in committee yesterday during the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Hotel.

With a litany of issues at stake, the biggest one that is still alive concerns use of the numerical formula to determine how many teams receive state-tournament berths in each league. That proposal, drawn up by Big Island administrators, will be up for vote during the general assembly, which meets today for the final time.

The three proposals that were spiked were:

» classification by enrollment;

» ban of composite bats;

» 15-hour maximum of practice time per week.

The classification issue, targeted by Maui Interscholastic League officials, has been debated since Division II was added to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state football championships in 2003. Since then, all team sports have incorporated D-II, even though each league has protected and maintained its own unique criteria.

"I didn’t expect the proposal to pass in that form," said Seabury Hall athletic director Steve Colflesh, who has proposed standard criteria for several years and was prepared to adjust this proposal. In similar form last year, the proposal made it to a final vote and was approved before being rejected by the HHSAA executive board. This time, it died in committee.

The MIL proposal suggested cutoff points of 1,000 students for public schools and 500 for private institutions to separate D-I from D-II. But instead of initiating more discussion, the issue hit a wall.

"The proposal was weakly worded and not spelled out specifically," Colflesh said. "We wanted to provoke discussion."

Small-school proponents, including Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Bob Wagner, didn’t agree with the numbers penned in the proposal. KS-Hawaii has an enrollment of about 530 students. Maryknoll has roughly 510.

The 1,000-student figure (public schools) was a solid, round number that hit smack in the middle, Colflesh added.

"We found that there are 23 schools above 1,000 and another 23 below 1,000. The OIA has seven schools that would be in Division II," he said.

More than that, Colflesh cited a general mind-set that is peculiar and particular to Hawaii. While the rest of the nation uses enrollment as a primary criteria, the consensus in the islands is to treat D-I as an elite level while D-II is, for better or worse, granted consolation status.

"My perspective is that in Division II, you are all on the same level, but most athletic directors feel Division I is elite," he said.

Meanwhile, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s proposal to effectively use the ratio formula to determine state berths per league is alive and well. The league’s other proposal, which would have required a minimum of three teams in one sport (per division) to qualify for a state berth, was voted down.

The ratio formula has been used by the HHSAA to determine numbers and break ties. However, the proposal would end unusual rounding off of fractions. For example, a league with just one team in Division II would average out to a ratio of 0.04 if there are 25 teams total playing statewide.

With eight state berths available, that league’s ratio – 0.04 – multiplied by 8 would come out to 0.32. In the past, the HHSAA rounded that number up to 1 (state berth). The proposal would require the number to round down instead of granting that league an automatic berth.

The effort to ban composite bats for safety reasons went nowhere, but will likely return next year with more research and analysis. Hawaii has not had a reported serious injury due to a composite bat.

The 15-hour maximum is also due for more research. Athletic directors noted that video study and training workouts would count against the 15 hours, which would’ve hampered student-athletes in just about every sport.

"We’ll have to hash out the details," Farrington athletic director Harold Tanaka said of the proposal. "It was a good discussion. Each league brought up good points. It’s just not ready yet."


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