The groundswell had been building, all right.
So had the ammunition. The Maui Interscholastic League and Big Island Interscholastic Federation were outnumbered, but not outgunned when discussion on the open floor ensued on Friday, the final day of the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference.
The cool air-conditioning of the ballroom at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Hotel belied the intensity of thoughts and exchange on a few issues. The load wasn’t large; several battles offered by the neighbor islands were shot down in committee.
However, persistence was a crucial fuel to their efforts. The results? Barring veto votes by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s executive board on Monday, they are fairly impressive.
• The MIL and BIIF are in the soccer tournament host rotation for the first time
• The eight-team format involving the Division II championships will extend to a third game for all teams, including consolation play
• Division II champions and runners-up will be officially recognized
The debate in the soccer host rotation issue was lengthy, at least 20 minutes of banter, sound questioning and firm response. Kamehameha-Maui athletic director Kurt Ginoza faced defeat in committee (16 against, 6 for, 7 abstentions), but took the proposal to the general assembly floor via minority report.
Often times, that maneuver fails for lack of persistence and tact. Ginoza and the proposal’s supporters had both. First, though, there was at least five minutes of debate over whether the proposal had been amended in committee to include the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
After that was settled — the BIIF was included — more voices could be heard. Among them were Konawaena’s Bill Trumbo, the former UH-Hilo AD.
On the other side, questions were posed by soccer coordinator Greg Van Cantfort and University AD Jim Bukes. With the tournament currently hosted at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium and its ample number of fields, concern was justified.
“My concern,” Bukes said, “is management of two tournaments at two sites.”
Van Cantfort added, “There are other financial concerns moving to outer islands. Television. One of the tournaments would not be televised. That would be an undue expense to the HHSAA.”
Punahou AD Jeaney Garcia added that it was a “banner year” for corporate sponsors.
However, Blane Gaison, co-AD at Kamehameha and overseer of the conference, noted that expenses via TV coverage are not a burden incurred by the HHSAA. It’s left to OC 16 to decide on coverage off-island.
“That’s up to the corporate sponsors,” he said.
That led to an exchange between ‘Iolani co-AD Carl Schroers and Ginoza over the merits of serving the needs of the many versus the needs of the few; Oahu schools outnumber the rest of the state.
With the BIIF on board, the proposal garnered enough votes to win closely, 46-40.
A byproduct of the approval, if the HHSAA passes it, is that the MIL and BIIF will offer better venues for D-II play. By using two sites, both tournaments will have bleacher seating, whether it’s the pairing of Kealakehe and Konawaena on the sunny west side of the Big Island, or Keaau and Kamehameha-Hawaii on the east.
Currently, D-II matches at Waipio are outcasted to a degree, playing on the outlying fields that have no bleachers and no scoreboards. D-II enters the stadium at Waipio only on the final day for the championship and third-place matches.
The proposal to add a third game at the D-II state tournament had an easier time gaining approval. With no additional costs involved, proponents insisted that it would be worth the additional effort.
“We want that third game. It’s a guaranteed end of the season,” Seabury Hall athletic director Steve Colflesh implored.
Having that third game gives fans and families a chance to bring their leis and prepare for the conclusion, Colflesh said, standing in the center of the floor.
“It’s a huge inconvenience for the host school, but with revenue — if Seabury Hall is playing Hana at Farrington at 10 a.m., our parents will be there, pay to get in and it will be a wash. (The HHSAA) is going to make money on that. If you travel to Maui, we can plan on when the season will end. I believe we will make some money,” he said. “Thank you.”
It was an interesting proposal in another aspect. There are more than a few administrators who would like to eliminate consolation play at state tournaments. They didn’t show up, though, and the proposal was approved handily 60-30.
One of the golf proposals to allow two coaches per school to have verbal contact with golfers from green to tee was approved. It was a chance for Hawaii Prep’s Steve Perry and Waianae’s Glenn Tokunaga to resume their ongoing, lively debate about the merits of breaking “code” set by junior golf standards.
Those standards strictly limit contact between coaches and golfers, as Perry noted.
“This can only slow it down where the kids can get a penalty for pace and they’d have to rush,” Perry said. “A coach advising a kid for every shot, do you want that?”
It was the classic scenario of finding a middle ground between the world of elite golfers — Hawaii has turned out many top-line junior golfers in recent years — and burgeoning golfers out of the public-school ranks. For every Kristina Merkle, a golfer who shines for a public-school team, there are many others who qualify for the state tourney, but fare better with constant coaching.
The proposal was approved by a 51-35 count.