Long debate ends with KIF cancelling fall, winter sports

Lahainaluna's Tuipulotu Lai (51) hurries Kapaa's Kahanu Davis (7) during the second half of the 2018 HHSAA Division II football championship on Nov. 24, 2018 at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. Lahainaluna won 34-32 to take the Division II title. Photo by Jamm Aquino/jaquino@staradvertiser.com

After roughly a week of deliberation, the Kauai Interscholastic Federation has cancelled postponed fall and winter sports.

Despite having the lowest COVID-19 case numbers in the state, administrators opted to follow the rest of the leagues in continuing to keep high school sports closed until spring season. The KIF went nearly a week after beginning talks amongst athletic directors and principals. Other public-school dominant leagues — the Oahu Interscholastic Association, Maui Interscholastic League and Big Island Interscholastic Federation — needed only two to three days to make their decisions to cancel. The private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu cancelled fall sports and five winter sports.

From the KIF’s official press release:

“After careful consideration and extensive discussion, the Kauai Interscholastic Federation Executive Board has made the decision to cancel the 2020 KIF Fall and Winter season sports which included air riflery, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, football, canoe paddling, soccer, girls volleyball, swimming and diving, and wrestling.

“The collaborative discussion among the KIF Athletic Directors and the KIF Executive Board in this combined public and private school league considered many factors in making this decision.”

Coincidentally, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami shared his views on policies that protected the Garden Island during a recent online video forum. The highly-protective strategy has produced good fruit for residents who now have access the county’s facilities.

“We’ve had organized sports running for awhile. The last thing we’re working hard on is getting our visitor industry up and going, slowly getting there, but we can’t rush it. We haven’t had to open up, shut down, open up, shut down,” Kawakami said.

Team sports have been accessible via permit. Even “unregulated” sports like pickup basketball are thriving on park courts.

“Group limitations are 25 or less. We’ve been able to get to this point,” the mayor said. “It’s more than the fun and games. Historically, whenever there’s been adversity or disaster, there is sports. It has to be about the social aspect, especially for our children and their parents. You want children to feel like there’s something normal in their lives. We prioritize balance and how we can come back from the pandemic holistically (with) policy changes to try and keep our community open as possible. We still have a lot of work to do.”

The county’s policy, of course, does not overlap with the state.

“KIF sports would be a call that comes from the State DOE and their governing board,” Kawakami added. “They would have to submit the same safety protocol plan as other organized sports if they are utilizing county parks.”


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