Bowl Series still wants Hawaii team in future

Saint Louis will attempt to win a record four straight state titles in the top division in the state-tournament era. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

All is not ruined for Hawaii after Saint Louis opted out of an invitation on Wednesday to a national bowl game to be televised on ESPNU.

According to Rashid Ghazi of Paragon Marketing Group, the creator of the GEICO Bowl Series, there is still interest in bringing a Hawaii team to Phoenix for the event in the future.

“We wish Saint Louis nothing but the best,” Ghazi said Thursday in a cellphone message to Hawaii Prep World. “Hopefully one time we can get a Hawaii team in the Bowl Series.”

Ghazi did say it might be tougher in general for any team in any state in the future to get into the Bowl Series.

“The biggest challenge is as the event grows and more states opt in, it gets harder for teams to get an invitation,” Ghazi said. “I have a lot of respect for (Hawaii High School Athletic Association athletic director) Chris Chun. “We still want to work with Hawaii.”

Since September, Ghazi and his company were in negotiations with Chun to bring a Hawaii team to Phoenix for the event. There was some kind of agreement among the three parties — the HHSAA, the Bowl Series and Saint Louis for the Crusaders to participate. Hawaii Prep World broke the news that Saint Louis made a decision to not accept the invitation Wednesday morning.

However, on Thursday morning, Saint Louis president Glenn Medeiros refuted a report that the Crusaders broke an agreement when they opted out.

“We agreed to terms (in writing), but only if we were to say yes to going on the trip,” Medeiros said. “We didn’t see it as a binding document. We read it like an ‘if we were to go’ kind of thing. I realize it could be construed another way and that there is room for interpretation.”

Wednesday evening, after the news of Saint Louis’ decision broke, Ghazi sent a statement to Hawaii Prep World saying that Saint Louis had agreed to play in the event. He was also quoted in USA Today, saying the same thing.

Medeiros also said Thursday that most of the feedback he’s been getting from students and parents on campus since the decision has been positive. He also reiterated that it was a decision made by a team of school administrators based on what they felt was in the best interest of the students.

“Coaches Cal and Ron Lee were very supportive of the decision,” he said. “Once we won the state championship game (38-17 over Mililani on Saturday at Aloha Stadium, their 26th straight win to finish the season 11-0), we sat down at Big City Diner for lunch to discuss the pros and cons. There were many good reasons to go to a bowl game, but we thought it would be better to not go.”

Among the many reasons Saint Louis gave on Wednesday were that Dec. 22 is finals week, that players are already involved in other sports that have already begun, and that families of players have already planned other vacations for that time period.

“If this was a real national championship game, we would have gone out of our way to try and make it happen,” Medeiros said Thursday. “It is a bowl game, but it’s really an exhibition game. In my mind anyway, it’s an exhibition game.”

Originally, only 75 Crusaders players or coaches and staff would have had all of their expenses paid. Medeiros estimates the squad is 93 players and 20 staff. That number of paid spots was negotiated up to at least 100 and one source said all 113 people in the traveling party would have been taken care of.

Had they accepted the invitation, Saint Louis would have received money — either $15,000 or $6,000 — or $20,000 in equipment. Which of the those three would have been up to the event organizers.

Four teams will be picked for the Geico Bowl Series doubleheader out of six state champions from Arizona, Utah, Florida, Washington, Maryland and Georgia. Most states crown their champions in December.


  1. Lou November 29, 2018 5:36 pm

    The real. A hundred and some air tickets to Phoenix during Christmas season would be $70,000. P!us. Transport,hotel,meals etc.would put it at a minimum $150,000. So recruiting pays off.

  2. Suspense November 29, 2018 5:46 pm

    Again, why California not included? Get California’s reason.

  3. C coach November 29, 2018 5:52 pm

    If Ghazi was in touch with Chun of HHSAA, since September, why was the other Open teams not included in discussion. Chun needs to explain. Next you’ll have next season adjusted to accommodate Team One. Also if HHSAA negotiated the deal any monies gained would have to be shared to HHSAA. This would include the “equipment”$$$. #walkawayfromthemerge.

  4. ??? November 29, 2018 6:03 pm

    They should just pick Punahou or the OIA champion because the game and date will be at the same time next year.
    STL Academy will again have final exams at the same time so there is no use for another wasted invitation!

  5. Lovelyn November 29, 2018 6:31 pm


    A majority of California’s state championship bowl games are played on December 14 or 15 – one week before this event.

  6. Lovelyn November 29, 2018 6:53 pm

    People saying St Louis wouldn’t fly up to play a top team or play for a mythical national title, should realize that If St. Thomas Aquinas wins out, they may be ranked higher than St. Louis in the final polls. If they are the Florida champion who gets picked, St. Louis would’ve had an opportunity to play a team close to the Top 5 nationally. Beating them convincingly would at least put STL in some argument for best team in country. If you’re not willing to play anyone, no one should be talking about you in that conversation. #1 Mater Dei played top 5 teams IMG and St John Bosco (twice) this year. Hard to argue you’re a better team unless you’re willing to play a top 5 team yourself. At the very least, flying up and possibly playing (and beating) a St. Thomas Aquinas or Florida’s 6A champ at least sets you up in the opening rankings for next season. And the argument that only 75 people are paid for seems not relevant knowing that St. Louis would also be getting a cash payment from the bowl to help subsidize any type of fundraising.

  7. Lou November 29, 2018 8:05 pm

    Folks it’s time to wrap up the season. Equipment turned in. Coach C, turn off the lights pleez.

  8. HotOnes November 29, 2018 8:44 pm

    You guys all actin like Saint Louis wasn’t gonna win it again anyways. It’s like how we all wanna pretend Golden State isn’t gonna win the NBA Finals again

  9. supportive November 29, 2018 10:22 pm

    All the reasons St. Louis gave are valid. It’s finals week on campus (yes, some things actually are bigger than sports). Most mainland school champions are just now getting into their playoffs, big disadvantage on the Crusaders part. Winter sports in full swing in island high schools, how are you supposed to keep the team together when those student athletes are already involved in other sports. If football was all that mattered to St. Louis, you can bet the Crusaders would’ve jumped at the chance, but by turning down the invite, all the haters talking about recruiting, football school only, or should be like IMG just got checked.

  10. notes November 29, 2018 10:37 pm

    mill played #1 team in nation sjb
    kahuku played #1 team in nation gorman
    stl keeps dodging….smh

  11. notes November 29, 2018 10:53 pm

    this highschool bowl series thing is put on by business men and mimicking the college bowl games. free travel for exploiting and profiting off the players.

  12. Lovelyn November 29, 2018 11:29 pm


    1. You act as if this is infringing on the St Louis basketball season. Their future is in football, period. Not basketball. Hell, if Punahou went to this game – duke clemens, kaulana makaula, maninoa tufono, and tamatoa falatea all play basketball. I can guarantee you, they would’ve played in the FB game versus some preseason basketball tournaments that don’t matter for the ILH basketball season. Infringing on the basketball season is a lame excuse.

    2. Cal Lee tells teachers who is academically eligible to play. Finals week?! Please. Final exams can be made up a week later at Football Academy. And St Louis isn’t an academic hotbed if you haven’t noticed. How many St Louis kids end up at JC each year when they have D1 talent? This goes all the way back to Timmy Chang – who slid through St Louis, barely made it through UH, and was actually suspended for academics. Luckily, June Jones pulled strings to keep him on the field.

    3. How is it an advantage if you have to play all the way up to a week before this game? Most teams would gladly take 2 weeks to heal up injuries and scout/gameplan their opponents. You think Hawaii wants to play in the Hawaii Bowl this weekend or 3 weeks from now?

    4. Best interest of kids? How’s this for best interest… How many of their kids have zero or one D1 offer outside of UH right now? Arasi Mose, Jayden de Laura, Kamoi Latu, Stanley McKenzie, Matt Sykes, Roman Wilson, Connor Apo, Chance Beyer, Makoa Close, Dayton Sam, Robbie Paikai, Koali Nishigaya, Garyn Napuunoa, Kila Kamakawiwoole, Kainalu Tumpap, Korvin Feagins, Liloa Kapiko, Brian Cox, etc. Lot of these kids will be up for All-State nominations this year and there are those who feel they can keep playing beyond HS. Here’s an idea? How about letting these kids showcase themselves in a bowl game series featuring 4 state champions that is likely to draw 30+ college recruiters? College season will be over for a large number of D1 schools and D2 schools by December 22nd so a lot of coaches will have recruiting time on their hands. At the very least, Arizona, Arizona State, Northern Arizona will be represented, but i would venture to guess something like this will attract a ton of coaches representing various college football programs. No one blinks an eye if you shut down a WR from Waianae. But if you shut down a Florida WR from St Thomas Aquinas or Miami Northwestern, you may get offered a scholarship on the spot. These kids are missing out on a huge opportunity to earn scholarships — especially if they can’t afford to go to numerous mainland football camps throughout the years. Small sacrifice to pay to have them take finals a week after everyone else.

  13. EC November 30, 2018 12:53 am


  14. 808 sports fan November 30, 2018 5:43 am

    You’re spot on 💯 with your last post. St.Louis were not based on academics in the past, but its good for once they’ve chosen academics first . This article stated that if this was for the national championship they would’ve pushed to make the trip. Maybe if they scheduled more top 5 teams their ranking would be higher. what Lovelyn stated that this bowl game could have helped boost their pre season ranking for next year. Congratulations st. Louis on the great season and i look forward to watching St. John Bosco here in Hawai’i next year

  15. ??? November 30, 2018 5:57 am

    Excuses, Excuses, Blah, Blah, Blah.
    The whole state knows Final Exams is the least of STL worries
    Your sorry excuse “other sports”😂
    So I guess no one from STL will be participating in any football All-Star games or recruiting trips because it will interfere with other sports😂
    We can’t take 90 players so we don’t want to go🤧 you can only play 11 at a time & quarter of the team barely plays anyway.
    Just stop the excuses, the kids got Screwed now deal with it….

  16. ??? November 30, 2018 5:59 am

    Damn, Lovelyn is on POINT !!!!

  17. KalihiFB November 30, 2018 9:05 am

    Enough about St. Louis not going. Decision made and I agree. Crusaders reached their goal this year….again! If no California teams are invited with the top teams, what is there to prove anyway if St. Louis goes? Keep going haters and keep getting upset. There are other things to look forward to during this holiday season.

  18. Hee-Haw November 30, 2018 1:04 pm

    According to sources, St. Louis FB is not allowed to travel, since the 90’s, due to their actions.

  19. ALLILH November 30, 2018 1:23 pm

    I Agree KalihiFB! To quote an IDIOT who likes to change his name but still writes the same. “Don’t hate us because you ain’t us!”


  20. The Lou November 30, 2018 1:43 pm

    when your guys’ sorry school can knock the Crusaders off the top then you can talk and decide what is best for you own sorry school.

    until then sit in the back seat and shut it…Saints driving this bus!

    too many voices that don’t matter talking.

  21. KalihiFB November 30, 2018 3:03 pm

    To ALLILH and The Lou…..Amen to you! Too much haters and critics on the Crusaders. To all of them, I hope Santa still keeps you on his list. Stop by naughty….

  22. Nala November 30, 2018 4:40 pm

    All you st Louis wannabe….You guys like elementary kids….grow up….they are scared to play the best in the nation….nuff sed….

  23. ??? November 30, 2018 5:05 pm

    You still believe in Santa?

  24. Atatiava December 2, 2018 12:06 am

    Hawaii still repping in the Geico Bowl series this year. Chandler HS, the AZ champions, have 3 boys from Hawaii on their team. Neher, Pasi, and Coleman from Laie Park big boys team. Great opportunity for any kid to play in the series.

  25. Katosan December 17, 2018 12:47 pm

    LMAO @ St. Louis once again finding a way to wiggle out of playing top mainland teams on the mainland.

    Sure, they’re a big fish in a tiny pond, but they have no stones to swim outside of it. At least Mil didn’t duck SBJ as they played in their new stadium.

    Cowards & nationally overrated until they have the stones to play a top mainland team on the mainland.

  26. Katosan December 17, 2018 12:49 pm

    St Louis should change its logo to a giant chicken. That’s what they are. A bunch of cowards, always afraid to face top mainland teams on the mainland.

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