The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has extended the no-contact rule for prep coaches and players to Sept. 13.
The extension was expected as COVID-19 cases increased in the islands. The rule is being applied to all sports. Traditional fall sports football, cross country, girls volleyball and competitive cheer were postponed to January at the earliest. A winter sport classified as “higher risk” by the National Federation of High Schools, wrestling, does not have a start date yet in 2021.
“Today was supposed to be the first day we could meet, but we had no plans. We were just waiting for further guidelines from the HHSAA,” Punahou interim football coach Leonard Lau said. “During offseason, usually we have so many rules to follow. We’re in a red level at our school, which doesn’t allow any type of sporting event or workout on campus.”
At Mililani, it’s status quo. Football coach Rod York has asked his staff and players to be cautious.
“I believe this is a great move. Scary times and we have to put the safety of people first,” he said. “Rumors of (another) shutdown. Parks and beaches have restrictions. So it makes sense to extend the contact date.”
Saint Louis coach Ron Lee expected the same.
“Everyone took it for granted that nothing would go. We’re not going until January, so we don’t need to go yet,” he said.
At Lahainaluna, the four-time Division II state champions are moving up to D-I when the new seasons arrives.
“For our players, many of them have been with our program since sixth grade and understand what they need to do to prepare for an upcoming season,” co-head coach Dean Rickard said. “Many of them have taken it upon themselves to continue with their conditioning and strength training, and are looking a this fall season as an extended off-season.”
There was no mention of a definite start date for air riflery and bowling, the only two sports permitted by the HHSAA this fall. The possibility of moving “moderate risk” sports like golf, tennis, baseball and softball to the fall has not been considered, though there had been support by coaches and student-athletes for a variety of start-date options.
Hawaii is one of seven states that postponed some or all fall sports to 2021. One byproduct of the delay is that a few student-athletes have transferred to Utah, where football season is underway. Though two games there were canceled over the weekend due to cases of coronavirus, the rest of the schedule played out.