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High schools head toward ‘recycling’ aluminum bats

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Dig up the old aluminum bats.

Administrators voted to ban composite bats in high school baseball yesterday, a measure that gained traction after a serious injury resulted in a lawsuit in California. School representatives at the final general assembly of the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association spent more than 3 hours voting on proposals.

The three-day conference at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Hotel included measures that were shot down in committee, including one that would have limited student-athletes to 15 hours of activity per week.

The composite bat ban will take effect only with approval by the executive board of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, which will meet tomorrow morning. The proposal includes an amendment to extend the ban to softball.

Yesterday’s 89-0 vote in favor of the proposal indicates likely passage by the HHSAA.

Another proposal that was approved will permit the Maui Interscholastic League and Big Island Interscholastic Federation to host state soccer tournaments. The measure will allow the tournament to be played away from Oahu every three years.

Floor discussion on the topic lasted almost 25 minutes. ‘Iolani co-athletic director Carl Schroers pointed to an imbalance of MIL teams in the postseason.

"When it was last held on Maui, there was one (MIL) representative and 11 other schools. It was not an equitable use of a facility when there are 11 schools traveling to one site. It’s not appropriate," he said.

Kamehameha-Maui AD Kurt Ginoza countered.

"So it’s OK for neighbor island schools to travel 12 straight years?"

Schroers was blunt.

"Yeah."

The numbers favor Oahu teams; the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association have more schools than the rest of the state combined. Ginoza, however, pointed to the burden placed on the minority.

"For Oahu, it would be 10 teams (traveling off-island) once every three years. You can share the same planning challenges, traveling challenges, cost challenges with us. That’s all we’re asking for," Ginoza said.

The vote went in favor of the proposal 46-40 with four abstained votes. If the ILH and OIA vote against it tomorrow at the HHSAA board meeting, it will not pass.

"If everybody here does what they’re supposed to do, they’ll do what’s best for the kids, not just their leagues," Waiakea athletic director Tom Correa said. "After listening to what Robert Kanaby and Ken Niumatalolo said, that’s what we’re all supposed to be doing. The neighbor islands aren’t asking for an advantage. We’re just asking for equity."

Kealakehe athletic director Mike Hernandez said his boys and girls teams spent $35,000 to travel to the state soccer tournament.

"We can save dollars if we have a soccer tournament in Kona," he said.

First-year HHSAA executive director Chris Chun will oversee tomorrow’s board meeting. Like his predecessor, Keith Amemiya, Chun doesn’t have a vote, but his input will be key. He’s already studying the possibility of the MIL and BIIF hosting soccer tournaments.

"Now we’ll see if we can make these work financially," he said. "This past year was successful (at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium). Soccer is one of the best revenue generating sports."

Chun plans to do more research on the 2004 state soccer tourney held on Maui.

"It wasn’t as successful as people expected and part of that was because of the weather," he said.

Another proposal that will move on to the HHSAA board would officially crown a Division II team champion in all sports.

Several other proposals that made it out of committee found the going rough on the floor of the general assembly. A proposal to use the formula calculation to assign league representation in state tournaments, excluding football, was defeated 64-26.

The measure would have prohibited automatic berths for leagues with just a few teams in either Division I or II, as was the case a year ago when Maryknoll’s baseball team was the only D-II squad in the ILH. The Spartans received an automatic state berth and went on to win the D-II state title.

The proposal to limit student-athlete hours in sports follows parameters set in the NCAA, but lacked detail and inclusion.

"It’s going to be brought up again," Waiakea athletic trainer Kalei Namohala said. "There are coaches who practice 4 hours (per day) for six days a week. (But) they should get all the leagues involved on the committee."

Kamehameha co-athletic director Blane Gaison considered the proposal vital.

"There’s a lot of validity in it. The NFL, the NCAA have guidelines. We’re heading there, probably, but we’re not in agreement on the (number of) hours."

The committee that created the proposal started on it just one month ago, he added.

"They didn’t have enough data yet," Gaison said. "We need to get everyone involved."

Chun seemed refreshed by the conference.

"It’s the side of high school sports that a lot of people don’t see," he said.

Much of the decisions coming tomorrow by the HHSAA will depend on whether proposals are fiscally sound.

See the list of proposals and voting results at www.HawaiiPrepWorld.com.

 

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