Football season will stay a little bit more like football season.
A proposal that would have allowed high school football teams to start one week earlier — from July 20 to July 13 — took a wild ride through Hawaii’s athletic directors and decision makers this week at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
It had some life and momentum on Tuesday, when it passed a Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association committee with a 22-6 vote with seven abstaining.
The measure was defeated at the HIADA general assembly 34-51-3 on Wednesday, but was brought back on the table at the final stop, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board on Thursday.
The topic generated a lot of discussion, but was finally voted down. There are five voting members on the board, one each from Hawaii’s five leagues, and only one league, the OIA, voted in favor.
Ray Fujino, the OIA executive director, stressed that if passed, the proposal would give players more time in pads to prepare for contact in scrimmages.
Steve Perry, the Hawaii Prep athletic director who is not a member of the board but was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting as a guest, is against starting a week earlier.
“Football season is getting earlier and earlier,” Perry said. “On the Big Island, we have plenty of time for kids to get ready, from July 20 (start of conditioning), to July 27 (start of pads) to August 7 or 8 (controlled scrimmages) to August 14 or 15 (first preseason games).
The OIA, however, starts its controlled scrimmages in late July and its first games on Aug. 7 or 8, so the schedule is tighter.
In addition, both Fujino and Perry mentioned a trend nationally that will eventually mandate limitations on how much teams can engage in contact. The OIA, Fujino said, plans on implementing the nationally recommended limitations this year to get ahead of the curve. Adding a week would help teams ease into the conditioning and ease into the pads, and not necessarily adding contact.
Some athletic directors at the HIADA conference were worried that by starting football a week earlier, it would continue a trend that would make football year round.
At least now, with the July 20 start date, high school football begins about a week after Major League Baseball’s midseason All-Star game.