The Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s update on Monday about no-contact rules extended to Aug. 18, but Executive Director Chris Chun expounded on the announcement.
On Tuesday morning, Chun noted that workouts for student-athletes away from campus with independent groups are technically not banned by the HHSAA. The issue surfaces when team coaches are in contact with players from the same school.
Groups of student-athletes from various sports and schools are free to work out with non-school coaches, Chun added. That scenario is not ideal, he said, but the updated policy does not reach that far.
“Technically, no. But it defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do,” he said. “We want to keep kids safe by wearing masks, socially distancing, and discouraging large groups. These large practices, if done with limited safety guidelines, threaten our ability to hold a season. Can you imagine if there was a mass breakout caused by one of them?”
Across Oahu, there have been accounts of football players that worked out with position coaches, some on campus and some at other facilities. The HHSAA had already warned about usage of city and county fields by school teams last month. Chun urges as safe an environment as possible in these independent (non-school coached) settings.
“Stick to virtual workouts and small groups to train for now and strengthen our chance to have a season this year,” he said.
Virtual meetings, the HHSAA says, are allowed. Hawaii Baptist Academy Athletic Director Deren Oshiro sits on the HHSAA’s Start Date/Calendar Committee.
“With school coaches,” Oshiro said, “absolutely no physical communication or contact.”
Enforcement of the HHSAA policy is dependent on individual schools. There will be no first-warning type of leniency.
“Schools will self report to their leagues,” Chun said. “Then we will investigate and implement (discipline). No warnings.”
Football practices are scheduled to begin on Aug. 19 statewide. The first day of classes for public schools remains Aug. 4.