OIA makes it official: All winter sports cancelled

Geremy Robinson scored 19 points to spark Moanalua over Kahuku, 56-48, in the final of the OIA boys basketball Division I playoffs of 2020. Robinson's dunk came after the final buzzer. Cindy-Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser

Winter is not coming to the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

Less than three hours after the Hawaii High School Athletic Association canceled state tournaments for “Season 1”, the public-school OIA canceled its entire winter season sports calendar on Saturday. Season 1 includes some fall sports that had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic: air riflery, basketball, bowling, competitive cheer, cross country, paddling, soccer, swimming and diving, and wrestling. Winter is the busiest of the traditional three seasons in prep sports.

On Monday, the private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu announced the cancellation of five winter sports, but would also move forward with remaining sports with protocols.

The OIA, one of the largest leagues in the nation, went further to secure health and safety. Still, it is bittersweet for senior student-athletes.

“I talked to my kids, especially my seniors, about three weeks ago,” said Pearl City boys basketball coach Lionel Villarmia, who began coaching at the prep level in 1984. “We thought we might have a six- or seven-week season. The league had a lot of proposals. Everybody was there and laid it on the line. I called my captain and told him to rally up the boys. We would have only two weeks of conditioning and tryouts. No fans in the stands. We left it at that.”

By 4 p.m. on Saturday, the emails began to circulate.

“Just tonight, (our athletic director) sent us the email that everything was cancelled. We kind of knew when the ILH cancelled (five sports). We were just waiting on the Department of Health,” Villarmia said. “The other states are doing it. We’re one of only three states not doing it. The West Coast and us. We got our protocols down. It’s sad for the kids. It’s sad for the kids when we drive by the soccer field and they’re playing. The club kids play and we can’t.”

Pearl City girls soccer co-head coach Frank Baumholtz wasn’t surprised by the league’s decision.

“Definitely disappointed, but because of the other sports being cancelled, it is probably best to go with the flow until there is a major decision is made on the kids getting back into school,” said Baumholtz, who was entering his 33rd season as a coach at the high school level.

He has a message for his Chargers.

“Stay positive, especially the seniors that are going to college. They want to play in sports. They’ve just got to try and be ready to make that team in college. Don’t get out of shape,” he said. “You’re talking about a year of not playing.”

The ILH’s move to keep some sports alive this winter doesn’t correlate with other leagues.

“It’s the way it is and the OIA makes the rules and we have to abide by them. Whatever the other leagues are doing, the OIA is not going to care. They’re going to do what is best,” Baumholtz said.

Villarmia is worried about some of his players.

“I just wonder what’s going to happen to the kids who need sports to get grades. For public schools, that’s for real. A couple of my seniors, they they think it’s a joke. They get up 9:30 a.m. and their classes are done by 11:30. Do you think they’re studying? It’s going down, the GPA and all that,” he said.

He also has a theory about why the league came to a decision on the same day that Mayor-Elect Rick Blangiardi was sworn in.

“Maybe they made the decision before the new major gets in,” he said. “I know (Blangiardi) likes sports.”


  1. Justin Anderson January 2, 2021 8:03 pm

    This really sucks for all of the student athletes and coaches. We’re playing playing in TN. Our Football team had a 12 game season (Lost in quarterfinals) and my basketball team is 10-2 (started on time, 11/2). When there’s no leadership at a national level, too many things are left to local interpretation.

  2. really January 2, 2021 9:16 pm

    California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada are not playing. This doesn’t shock me. Unfortunately. But better to be safe.

  3. EASTSIDEMOM January 2, 2021 11:36 pm

    I feel so sorry for our kids especially for our seniors. This pandemic has taken so much from everybody. Just feeling so sad tonight for my son.

  4. Tyrone Taylor January 3, 2021 8:20 am

    We need to follow Florida. All non student athletes of class of 21′ need to continue school online. And class of 21 student athletes, school year stops now and give these kids a extra year of eligibility. As long as they make age. Which 95% will. 2 years in a row they got screwd. They suffering not us. LIFE CAN EASILY CHANGE DIRECTION FOR THE WORST. Could of have a chance to continue with education and sports play. BUT NOW THE STREETS WILL CALL MAJORITY OF THEM.

  5. JustSayin January 3, 2021 9:39 am

    Just wish the OIA press release could be clearer like the HHSAA. Season 1 versus winter sports. I heard all fall sports and winter sports but that obviously doesn’t include football and girls volleyball. My question is if you can’t have basketball, how can you have volleyball.

  6. Nalani January 3, 2021 2:07 pm

    No sports, no way, virus is here to stay.

  7. ??? January 3, 2021 2:29 pm

    Garbage! Make sports available and let parents decide if their kids should play.
    You can shop @ Walmart with no social distancing, you can catch the city bus with drivers who test positive, you can attend school with 1,000 kids shaking hands & hugging but you can’t play 5 on 5 basketball in an empty gym? Blangiardi will try to change this but IGE needs to go out with Caldwell.

  8. Forgotten January 3, 2021 5:33 pm

    Wrestling done. No states no state champs. Too bad for all wrestlers especially those that never won a state title! HHSAA state title trumps all the kiddie titles and national stuff.

  9. Eagle Eye January 3, 2021 9:11 pm

    So is football season out ? It wouldn’t make sense if they do , all other sports has less kids , football has 100 + kids and coaches on field , so if football can go , all other sorts can go. My opinion .

  10. PUKA January 4, 2021 8:17 am

    its amazing how they cancel all winter sports, but football is still up in the air? All other sports has fewer kids in contact with each other as to where football has at least 150 people on the field for JV and Varsity with kids and coaches. So if football can go , all other sports can go, thats my opinion . To me might as well just start preparing for next season already. Even if there is football, it will have less games, and probably not a state tournament. They shouldve thought about lit ast year and just let the kids play as for Hawaii was doing really well with per day cases compared to the mainland, at this time it is just too late and the football is over as far as NFL and College. Shame on the DOE.

  11. Eric BETHKE January 4, 2021 11:47 am

    Just curious what these “Leaders” expect these young men and women athletes to do? Many of these young men and women are relying on athletics to provide them an opportunity to attend college. They have worked hard to provide themselves a chance to make it to the next level. Now a decision has been forced upon them without any input from them or their parents. What data are ggey using to make this decision? What data from other states that held high school sports are they using to back up their decision?
    Show us how dangerous it is for these athletes to compete. Back up you decisions with facts! Not fears…..

  12. Eastsideparent January 4, 2021 5:03 pm

    There are ways to think outside the box. If parents & coaches can come up with a plan and create a league of there own outside of school. To give these kids an outlet. Everyone has created different avenues from businesses to churches trying to survive this pandemic. Surely we can create something for these kids. We can’t just take a NO. Lets think outside the box and make a plan.

  13. really January 4, 2021 8:20 pm


    If you make a league outside of school you have to factor in insurance and liability. I do not know if coaches want that responsibility. When they coach for their school, the school provides insurance for the players.

    The issue really isn’t being creative. It’s someone taking the risk and responsibility of keeping the kids safe. And signing waivers and giving consent doesn’t remove all liability. People think it does, smart lawyers know it does not.

    I don’t know a lot of people who are willing to take on that kind of risk if they understand the legal ramifications.

  14. Eastsideparent January 4, 2021 11:45 pm

    Yes I understand that. Just super frustrated and sad for my son.

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