It’s still only talk at this point.
Saint Louis football coach Cal Lee, who built the biggest dynasty in Hawaii high school football history, said he and June Jones of the school’s athletic department talked about the possibility of the Crusaders leaving the Interscholastic League of Honolulu
At that time a few weeks ago, the Lee/Jones discussion hadn’t advanced to the point where other ILH administrators were in on it. A little bit more than a passing thought is all — certainly not close to where it is now with serious talk among the league’s three Division I schools about fixing ILH, and possibly state, football so that the three top teams in the league do not have to face each other three or four times per season.
Read Dave Reardon‘s column in Thursday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser about the possible fixes.
One possibility, at least in Lee’s and Jones’ minds, is abandoning the ILH as it is and playing an independent schedule as soon as 2018.
Lee made it absolutely clear at the time that his biggest concern — one that would keep him away from taking the drastic step away from the ILH — were his colleagues at Punahou and Kamehameha. Namely, coaches Kale Ane and Abu Ma’afala. He does not want to abandon them.
Lee remarked that he was really fed up with having to play the Buffanblu and Warriors over and over again.
Lee is also quite irritated that the ILH did not have a coaches’ evaluation meeting after last season to discuss the 2017 schedule. As a result, a game he tried to schedule against Junipero Serra of San Mateo, Calif. — Tom Brady‘s alma mater — for early September conflicts with the start of the league season and he had to drop it.
“Why do we need to start the league so early?” Lee questioned. “You play two games and then you have a bye and then you play two more games and have another bye. And then there are some open dates later on before states, too. They know I felt this way. They didn’t have a meeting about it. They just made the schedule.”
A call on Wednesday to ILH executive director Blane Gaison for comment was not immediately returned.
All of this comes amid an important period in Hawaii high school football history. A new three-tier state tournament began last season, and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association is in the process of trying to make some changes for Year 2 of what began last season as a pilot program.
And on the backburner is that ever-present elephant in the room also known as the OIA-ILH alliance proposal in which the two leagues combine for the regular season. The ILH is all for it. The OIA is splt on it, with some who want it, some who don’t and some in the middle.
Here is Hawaii Prep World’s fictional example of what an OIA-ILH alliance could look like.
Despite the cries from Lee and others in the ILH, there are valid reasons in some people’s eyes why a merger is not in the best interest of everyone.
But the public appears to want it and it would help to ensure three separate tiers of relatively equal teams playing against each other. There is also the promise of excellent matchups with less blowouts every week. Equal competition against like-sized (physically and in enrollment) would also likely cut down on injuries.
And it certainly would appease Lee and Jones.