OIA to postpone fall sports until late September

Mililani defensive back Kiai Ramos (21) celebrated with linebacker Micah Kim (15), left, and defensive back Asher Pilanca (13) after recovering a Kahuku fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in 2019. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association is pushing the start of fall sports back to late September.

The official press release is expected by 11 a.m. today, but three administrative sources confirmed the OIA will take action. All fall sports practices are cancelled until further notice.

The rising rate of COVID-19 cases, spurred by the Delta variant during the pandemic, is the cause for concern.

Preseason games were scheduled to begin on Friday. The OIA’s regular season was slated to start on Aug. 13.

In a letter addressed to parents and dated Aug. 4, 2021, interim DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi explained the postponement.

“We opened the new school year this week with in-person learning and our highest priority is to ensure all students, including your child, can continue to attend school safely. In the meantime, due to the state’s high positivity rate, the Department is delaying the start of the fall athletic season until Sept. 24 to allow for anyone unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated to get inoculated.”

Hayashi also wrote:

“This decision was not made lightly because we know the important role athletics play in a well-rounded education, but we cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our students and communities. The alternative is cancelling the season outright, which we do not want to have to do. We are implementing this layered plan that prioritizes vaccination as the best way to protect against and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

The state’s public high school leagues postponed fall sports, including football, in 2020, due to the pandemic. Fall sports were later cancelled. There has not been an official high school football game in Hawaii since the fall of 2019.

Resumption of fall sports is tentatively set for Sept. 24. Student-athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate.

Preseason football games this weekend between Aiea and Leilehua, and Campbell and Waipahu had already been cancelled due to the virus.


  1. Conda Certified August 4, 2021 9:16 am

    And the only ones set to benefit from this is Mainland schools… que the transfer exodus!!!!

  2. ILoveHawaii August 4, 2021 9:25 am

    Alright you anti-vaxers.

    Will you vaccinate your kid so he can play football or stick to your guns?

  3. Waxinated August 4, 2021 9:36 am

    I expect all of the most talented athletes to be planning their exodus to either mainland schools or to ILH schools starting today. That August 24 start date is not guaranteed.

  4. Lee August 4, 2021 9:44 am

    @Waxinated Doesn’t matter if they transfer to an ILH school though. ILH schools play against OIA schools due to the Open Division rules so unless the player is super talented and can work a miracle to play on the mainland this fall it ain’t happening.
    My biggest question is there was always a chance someone could unfortunately catch the virus. We saw it already with the possibility of 2 games being canceled. So with that said I have no clue why the DOE didn’t require this earlier. Now we either got a shorter season or a season that goes into December or January. Smh.

  5. HI HS FAN August 4, 2021 9:51 am

    WOW! I see possible transfers to mainland schools happening soon or if it hasn’t already. Parents will be making decisions to give their athletes a chance to play this fall. Will schools on the mainland be open to these transfers? Although the OIA has said that postponing the season is not something they are in favor of, it didn’t rule out the possibility that it could happen.

  6. Q August 4, 2021 9:53 am

    Vaccine is a bioweapon.
    America’s frontline doctors are the truth tellers.

  7. Freedom of choice August 4, 2021 10:21 am

    So coaches, athletic trainers and the like also having interactions with student-athletes will need to get vaccinated as well?

    Where will this end? Delta variant? Flux capacitor? Are we going to keep pushing everyone to get vaccinated?

  8. Confusion/ torn August 4, 2021 10:35 am

    Why was this not implemented sooner. Why wait till the kids believed they had a chance. Why did they have to wait right before the season. They opened up the state and gave us false hopes!! Just to shut us all up. The state messed up and should have started this at the end of the school year! So many kids will loose out again. I don’t blame the families that left to mainland schools. Ige don’t care about the mental health of the kids… he only cares about what repercussions he will face. He will be out and couple years and then he will not have to deal with this. But families of these kids will have deal with many problems stemming from mental health. Sports give these kids chance to make it and be a physically active.

  9. HBoy August 4, 2021 10:38 am

    Statistics show that sports is not a serious source of outbreak but the social activities surrounding the sport. Why do we continue to punish the athletes for things out of their control? Allow sports, limit attendance to players, coaches, refs, medical personnel and film crew. Let them PLAY.

  10. HI HS FAN August 4, 2021 10:46 am

    @Lee, because someone didn’t want to make an executive decision and take the criticism. Last minute decisions like this leads to lots of finger pointing. Whose responsibility? DOE, HHSAA, OIA, ILH, Athletic Directors, Principals, Governor, Health Department, CDC Guidelines, etc? See where this is going? Should have stepped up earlier. Wasn’t it Ron Lee and several other coaches saying they were not in the loop and just beginning practices and not waiting around until decisions were made? Now with this, everything is in limbo. Student athletes are now affected the most. Parents looking for out-of-state transfer possibilities. Questions and doubts in leadership.

  11. Waxinted August 4, 2021 10:49 am

    @Lee It is true, ILH plays the OIA, but without OIA on the schedule, schools may try to schedule more mainland opponents with so many open dates to play. And at least they will play other ILH teams.

  12. Recruited not Rooted August 4, 2021 11:25 am

    OMG, these people are idiots! Yes the delta variant is highly transmissible, however it is much less deadly than the previous outbreaks. Hospitalizations and deaths have been down around 90% from the peak. Over the last month New York City has averaged between 3-6 deaths a week with a population of 8.5 million. LA county over the same time has averaged 6-10 deaths per day with a population of 10 million. People, DO THE MATH! Unless your kids have severely compromised immune systems (in which you wouldn’t be actively playing sports) they have ZERO chance of dying from this and, more than likely little to no effects at all. Actually, statistically they’re more likely to die from the flu, cancer, lightning and, for sure, the car ride to school. By these morons logic, they might as well cancel sports forever because there will always be the seasonal flu. You are destroying our kids hopes and dreams, shame on you. We’ve asked our kids to sacrifice so much during this time to protect their elders, isn’t it supposed to be the other way around. To all of you in charge of making these decisions, quit being afraid of your own shadow, grow a pair, put on your big boy pants and be a leader for a change instead of being the a#s clowns you are. Your actions are despicable and you should be held accountable. If you had any shame you’d resign immediately, you’re definitely not cut out for the job. If you are an OIA parent you should push back and push back hard. Tell me when and where and I’ll be there. I pray for these kids and their mental and physical health and development. God bless!

  13. TIGER PRIDE August 4, 2021 11:31 am

    The DOE has not even collected the data to see how many student athletes are ALREADY vaccinated. Some teams may already be close to, if not already 100% vaccinated and they wouldn’t know that. Why not keep the vaccine mandate, and let the already vaccinated participate? Why shut down everyone/everything when it may be a small percentage that needs to get vaccinated???

  14. The demographic most affected are Polynesians August 4, 2021 12:06 pm

    @recruited not rooted. 100% Kids are virtually unaffected. They wait till the week of games to pull this. The focus should be 100% on the elderly and immune deficient period.

    And to the people calling us anti-vax… most of us are not. We are against being told to take something against our will especially when #1 risk is almost zero and #2 there is plenty available treatment. If you want it, all you! But all of a sudden elitists think it’s your duty to tell others what to do with their health.

    Btw. Punahou just had a COVID case. Kid was vaxed as were his parents. All got COVID. Non-vaxed kids have to sit out this week. Make sense???

  15. JUDY POWELL August 4, 2021 12:10 pm

    Get vaccinated folks. It has become selfish, period, to hold on to some made-up reason not to get vaccinated. The science is there. Antivaxers are TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SURGE. That is it.. Cmon man.

  16. Keoki August 4, 2021 12:19 pm

    Recruited not Rooted 100% on your statements regarding our State’s leadership.
    The writing was on the wall a long time ago. They wait a few days before the start of Fall sports to decide on vaccinations. The leadership always acts after the fact. SMDH

  17. Sad August 4, 2021 12:42 pm

    Everybody complaining. Come on, science doesnt lie. This is the new life we are living in and we have to accept it. The more people dont get vaccinated , the more community spread will happen and more high probability that we could lose our loved ones close to us. For all of you who think this is a joke, its not , because when you lose someone close , then you will realize the shouldve couldve. Everybody just get vaccinated and get through this together and go back to normality. True talk

  18. ILoveHawaii August 4, 2021 12:51 pm

    Is it truly against our will?
    You have the right to take it or not.

  19. Batman August 4, 2021 12:58 pm

    @the demographic most affected are polynesians. Anti-vax, vax, what every you want to call it, it should be your choice. Just like it should be your choice where you bury your next of kin…Also, like it is the people of Hawaii’s choice to vote for who they vote for and who they elect to office (Hmmm, I wonder if the grass is greener). Is it to soon to say “I told you folks so?”.

  20. SG August 4, 2021 1:26 pm

    was OIA schools at least weekly testing the unvaccinated? If so, then idk why OIA has to postponed the season!! That doesn’t make sense!

    But if OIA schools are NOT testing weekly then I sorta understand. I don’t like this decision..i think there can be other solutions to help both sides of the spectrum. But again…what if these kids not only spread it within the team…but the whole school…then it passed on at home etc.


  21. Oldmans August 4, 2021 1:28 pm

    Quoting Hboy:

    “Statistics show that sports is not a serious source of outbreak but the social activities surrounding the sport.”

    Well said! This is exactly the issue. Play ball, sorry parents for once it isn’t about you and your “oneupmanship” post game social hour. Let these athletes play and everyone head home with your family and celebrate. The pulehu meat, suckum’ up social hour can take a rest for a bit.

  22. Eddie August 4, 2021 3:02 pm

    Delta is to blame. If it was weekly numbers like 6 weeks ago, no problem. The 350+ a day is alarming. The young are getting sick. Sports in school is a privilege not a right. .. contact sport as compared to class time to big difference. Like play, over 12, get VAC.

  23. Recruited not Rooted August 4, 2021 4:07 pm

    @ Judy Powell. You are the selfish ones expecting others to do as YOU wish. My son and I are vaccinated but that is our personal choice and we came to that decision based on our own situations. I don’t care if others are vaccinated or not, nor should you. I thought you have nothing to worry about if you’re vaccinated? I respect others concerns, especially since the federal government hasn’t even fully approved the Covid-19 vaccination. They’ve only been approved for emergency use. Those that don’t want the vaccine due to concerns, religious beliefs or if they have antibodies then that should be there choice, not yours. That’s absurd to make somebody that has had covid get the vaccine. We should be testing for antibodies, not the virus. 70% of the country is vaccinated and if you include those with antibodies and those non vaxers that never new they had covid that number is surely in the 80-90 percentile. All the fear porn put out by the media is disgusting. I will repeat myself, Covid, especially this variant is not serious or deadly to the vast majority of the population. If you are very old or in a high risk category then take precautions but don’t hold the rest of us hostage. Since when in this country do we hold others responsible for getting you sick. Again, the flu is more deadly to kids than covid. Let them play. If I get the seasonal flu and pass that on to you and you pass it on to an elder family member who dies, is that my fault? What’s the difference with delta. Please look at the statistics, not CNN or the legacy media. I respect your concerns and you can have that opinion. But it’s your job to protect yourself from others, not others from you. This is not communist China or North Korea. We are a country of freedom and liberties and they should not be infringed on with these ridiculous mandates. Stay the hell home if your so worried. People’s medical history is and always should be a private matter period.

  24. Q August 4, 2021 8:14 pm

    This will never end until they poison everyone with this vaccine.
    Next will be the Lambda Variant – which they say is worse than the Delta and of course that is worse than Covid 19.
    WAKE UP- No more Flu.

  25. Recruited not Rooted August 4, 2021 10:36 pm

    One more thing. It is a known fact that moderate to severely obese people are roughly 70% more likely to be hospitalized from covid complications and roughly 50% more likely to die. This is especially true in younger people with covid issues. Since this is the case, instead of mandating vaccines, why doesn’t the federal government go ahead and mandate our diet and exercise. Oh wait, that would be government overreach and considered an infringement on our personal liberties. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, we’d never allow something like that to happen……smh! Let’s face it, at some point in time we’re probably all going to get some variant of covid, how bout we take personal accountability of our own health and let others do the same. Let the kids play and get rid of the powers that be who make these decisions. They have proven time and again they don’t know what the hell they are doing and aren’t capable of doing their jobs. Simply disgraceful!

  26. SMH August 5, 2021 7:33 am

    its a trip what many people is saying this and that about the vaccine. Go educate yourselves . Not getting vaccinated is the reason why we are back in this situation. TOO MANY CRYBABIES. Grow up. This is the new world we live in. This is why we have science and science suggests we take the vaccine. All this conspiracy theories blah blah blah is just childish. Another thing, people is blaming tourist for this uptick in outbreaks , its local community spread, straight up. Tourists has nothing to do with it, they either gotta be vaccinated or tested before they come. Cmon people.

  27. ILoveHawaii August 5, 2021 8:06 am

    Arent yearly physicals required for one to participate in HS sports?
    If not completed, a student may not participate in practice or games, I think.

    Same or no?
    Everyone seems to comply with that one.
    Rushing last minute action, but parents get it done.

    Are sports considered a Right or a Privilege?

    “My son and I are vaccinated but that is our personal choice and we came to that decision based on our own situations”.

    Same or No? This is definitely a situation.

  28. Q August 5, 2021 10:07 pm

    U idiot
    Science? U have no f-in idea or clue.
    U wake up- if u want the jab then take it!
    Is called culling the herd anyway, don’t force people who don’t want this bio weapon thrust in them to take it.
    You’re vaccinated, u shouldn’t be worried about the unvaccinated cause u r protected,
    Or so u think, you will be dead within 2 years. It’s not approved for a reason.
    Don’t forget your booster. U won’t make it past 18 month’s.

  29. Yessuh! August 6, 2021 1:18 pm

    If you want the shot…good for you! If you dont…good for you too! FREEDOM OF CHOICE!

    But keep that same energy when you devalued other love ones passing away with COVID. Be loud and proud that you gave no F***S from the jump bout COVID and how you could’ve been preventive to spreading it. When u experience someone dying through a screen….take a screenshot of u smiling and laughing because all this is technically “fake.”

  30. eddie August 6, 2021 3:35 pm

    Today is Aug.6. You can get a first shot today and bring the starting date up 2 weeks from Sept.28 easy.

    Also looks like if you are fully vaccinated NOW, you can get back to practice by Aug.20, according to the Letter. I’m assuming coaches knew this may happen, and encouraged vaccine last month.

  31. Dad September 23, 2021 11:38 am

    OIA is the only youth athletic division still shut down in all 50 states. Poor kids deserve better than you guys.

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