ILH underclassmen ineligible for showcase

Saint Lous' linebacker Noa Purcell, shown after recovering a fumble in a game against Punahou this year, is one of 11 underclassmen from the ILH who will not be allowed to play in the JPS Paradise Football Classic. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Saint Lous’ linebacker Noa Purcell, shown after recovering a fumble in a game against Punahou this year, is one of 11 underclassmen from the ILH who will not be allowed to play in the JPS Paradise Football Classic. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

A total of 13 underclassmen from ILH schools picked to participate in next month’s Junior Prep Sports Paradise Classic at Aloha Stadium will not be allowed to play due to eligibility rules.

The league sent out an email to athletics directors this week reminding them of the Outside Participation Policy for the sport of football which does not allow outside participation to football players for the entire school year.

Junior Prep Sports is putting on its second Paradise Classic, a four-team tournament involving teams of high school players from Hawaii, American Samoa and Northern California, on Jan. 12 and 14.

JPS officials were unaware of the enforcement of the policy until finding out Tuesday. Last year, Saint Louis quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was a junior, played in the first JPS Paradise Classic. Tagovailoa threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns to lead Hawaii West to a 47-22 win over American Samoa in the championship game.

Tagovailoa went on to lead Saint Louis to a state championship this season. Teammate Dylan Toilolo, a junior linebacker this past season, was also on the Hawaii West roster.

“It’s unfortunate. They knew the invites had gone out way back in November and it would have been great to let us know ahead of time,” said Robert Faleafine, founder and president of Junior Prep Sports. “It’s unfortunate because it really does take away from the young athletes and their ability to gain exposure.”

Phone calls and emails to the ILH office were not returned. Faleafine said they were meeting with parents of the kids today who were upset about the ruling.

The 13 underclassmen from the ILH who were selected to play this season but can’t participate are Toilolo, linebacker Noa Purcell (Saint Louis), defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele (Saint Louis), receiver Tosh Kekahuna-Kalawe (Saint Louis), offensive lineman Arasi Mose (Saint Louis), defensive back Wembley Mailei (St. Francis), defensive lineman Michael Malepeai (Saint Louis), defensive back Kama Moore (Saint Louis), defensive back Kalamaku Kuewa (Kamehameha), defensive back Isaiah Tufaga (Saint Louis), offensive lineman Eliki Tanuvasa (Saint Louis), defensive back Kaulana Makaula (Punahou) and offensive lineman Paulo Soa (Punahou).

Underclassmen from the OIA and MIL (16 total) are allowed to participate.

“It seems like we’re limiting these kids from having an opportunity to play the game they love,” Faleafine said. “We’re hoping that the higher-ups from the ILH reconsider this thing and hold a meeting so they don’t take this opportunity away from these athletes. I don’t want to fight them on it, but we invited these athletes through the ADs and the coaches at the schools. I don’t know why they are only doing this now.”


  1. 4Life December 22, 2016 11:28 pm

    Come on ILH! Why would you deny these kids exposure and a chance to play along side and against some of the best in the State? Lots of college recruits will watch this game to see how the top tier athletes match up for recruiting purposes. There is no NCAA violation here at all, so why won’t you allow the boys to play like the OIA and MIL? Can’t you see how good it is for these kids from different schools to bond and work together as a team to represent Hawaii? #LetTheKidsPlay!

  2. 808YOLO December 23, 2016 12:31 am

    The rule just doesn’t make sense. Not allowing the kids to showcase their talents and rewarding them for their accomplishments. They should change the rule, it doesn’t make sense.

  3. RSYmoney December 23, 2016 7:53 am

    The ILH always, I mean always wants to either be in charge of events, control events, or be the sponsor of events. When they cannot, they do not want to participate which hurts the student athletes. Only the parents can help make the change. If there is no NCAA infraction and the public schools are participating why doesn’t the high and mighty ILH change?

  4. TooMeke December 23, 2016 8:05 am


  5. 808YOLO December 23, 2016 8:17 am

    How long was the rule in place and why only now they enforcing it. They picking and choosing when to implement the rule. If the AD’s were informed why didn’t they say something earlier and stop it from going further. The AD’s should be held accountable as well. JPS put a lot of time and effort to put this event on for the kids and only now they say something.

  6. phILHarmonic December 23, 2016 8:40 am

    I think this rule has been in place for the past couple years. Isnt that the reason why the 7,8,9, and 10th graders from the ILH dont participate in the Junior Prep season unlike the OIA players? I think there was a lack of do-diligence last year on the part of the ILH in disallowing the ILH players from participating and maybe just maybe, the JPS was hoping it would slip again this year knowing there was a rule? Either way, I dont see how holding the players from participating can be justified. In this age of trying to get our children to college by using their football talents to earn a scholarship, these opportunities are like gold!! For some parents, traveling to America is just fiscally out of the question so we have to find opportunities here in our back yard. Truly unfortunate. Just a side question, where do the funds generated from the event go?

  7. ??? December 23, 2016 8:44 am

    Why didn’t they something when Tua played last year. The ILH needs to get their heads out of their Okole. It should be up to the parents & Keiki if they want to play. Soon the ILH will try to control Pap Warner & Big Boys Leagues.

  8. ??? December 23, 2016 8:46 am

    (Correction) say something

  9. phILHarmonic December 23, 2016 9:27 am

    What is the process for the selection of players? Merit, accomplishments, statistics, team did well? OR my faddah no yo faddah or uncle? I wonder if this is a part of the conversation in addition to where the money flows? Maybe the OIA should start questioning the process.

  10. Coach_B December 23, 2016 9:37 am

    What’s the penalty for playing in the JPS showcase? Doesn’t seem like Tua or Toilolo had any penalties for playing in the game last year. If the ILH doesn’t want to enforce the rules evenly they should at least give a pass to this year’s underclassmen since they let them know so late and grandfather them into this year’s game.

  11. Alpha December 23, 2016 10:44 am

    @BillyHull, what’s the discipline for any ILH underclassmen who breaks the “Outside Participation Policy”? From my understanding said player would be ineligible to play that following season. If that’s the case, and we all know the two underclassmen that participated last yr, shouldn’t they have been ineligible for this past football season?

    @philharmonic, the monies your questioning doesn’t go to anyone person (if that’s what u were eluding too). The $400 goes to uniforms, draft dinner, meet and greet dinner with Cali and Samoa all star, all players involved get a week stay in waikiki, awards banquet at water park and other fees. Probably insurance for using Keehi lagoon for practice which Is a perfect place because all the teams can practice at one venue even though it might be tough to get out there for the country nd Westside families. . .

  12. hwnstyll December 23, 2016 11:04 am

    I am with the ILH, post season games should be limited to seniors. As I look at this roster it seems St Louis has alot of players in the all star roster and although they may be good players I still feel the seniors of the other 30 schools would be comparable talent wise and needs the exposure more.
    Looks like another recruiting advantage for St Louis if they can promise spots in all star games for underclassmen.

  13. Coach_B December 23, 2016 11:23 am

    @Alpha I think you have a point with the penalties. I happened to know since I was playing on an intermediate football team in the ILH that you couldn’t play in an outside league during the off season due to the same rule as the post-season games. If I was told this a long time ago by my athletic department, shouldn’t STL’s AD have known this too??? And if they knew and still let them play last year, then aren’t they doubly to blame??? The eligibility rules are there for a reason. I might not agree with them (I think we should let the kids play), but these are the same rules that try to prevent even more ridiculous recruiting.

  14. Alpha December 23, 2016 11:23 am

    IMO it’s doublestandard by the ILH. Last week they want to enforce a rule that’s been in place for years, but turn a blind eye to the fact that they let 2 players slip by last yr and allowed them to go ahead and participate this football season. The HHSAA should do an investigation on the ilh “Outside Participation Policy” and follow through with the penalties that should have been handed out. Also, I don’t want to say it but the fact of the matter is stl louis allowed 2 ineligible players to participate in football knowing the rules. But if I’m wrong, then I stand corrected. Just got to prove it. I’ll send my own email to hhsaa asking the same.

  15. ??? December 23, 2016 11:45 am

    Threaten to take away STL 2016 state title for letting Tua and Toilolo play in last years JPS game and still play this season and I bet the ILH will change this rule REAL quick. Lol..

  16. Chloropicrin December 23, 2016 11:48 am

    The ILH should enforce the rule for all their sports too; club volleyball, basketball and baseball. Unfair, these kids can get more looks with an additional game.

  17. phILHarmonic December 23, 2016 1:34 pm

    Alpha- Gosh, I didn’t know they had to pay to play if selected. That puts even more of a need for transparency. Thank you for the information, I think that transparency is important, especially when it comes to money.
    I wasnt eluding to any “nefarious deed” going on but was hoping to bring focus to potential barriers of resolving this unfortunate circumstance.
    In regards to the ILH AD’s knowing the rules regarding outside participation, they do, they wrong for last year. JPS know about the ILH outside participation rule? they do, but its the ILH responsibility to enforce.
    Will this overturn the result of the State Championship game? I think not but it does open a can of worms for the ILH office and St. Louis.

  18. ToniF December 23, 2016 4:17 pm

    Loop hole for student athletes that want to participate; become a resident of another state and after the game reclaim kamaaina status! There are no dead ends- there’s always another way. Best of luck to all student athletes

  19. Let the kids play December 23, 2016 6:31 pm

    I don’t understand why they wouldn’t the kids play of the OIA is allowing kids of the same grade to play! They are actually hurting the kids. The worked so hard through the year to make an impression! And now they have and were invited. Sounds like the ILH is trying to control everything. If it gives these kids get a chance to get offered a scholarship from the many schools that are watching, then let them play! They now have a chance to represent the state and play along side of the best in the state! Come on ILH, LET THE KIDS PLAY!!!!

  20. CriticalReader December 23, 2016 7:56 pm

    There’s an easy solution. The kids can play. They just can’t play for an ILH team the following year.

  21. Can or no can? December 23, 2016 11:59 pm

    So, if the St. Louis QB was ineligible this season because he participated in this JPS game last year as a Junior, that means St. Louis has to forfeit the State title and Kahuku is state champ by default. Isn’t that what they did to Kahuku do back in 2010 when they had an ineligible player?
    Curious to see how the ILH &HHSA will play this one out since they caught themselves in a double standard dilemma.

  22. Benz Pitolo December 24, 2016 9:35 am

    Kahuku trying really hard to use those Back to Back State Champ tshirts they pre-made lol Shame on you braddah for even suggesting they take away these boys hard earned win!!! Tagovailoa and Toilolo most likely didn’t even know about the rule. To penalize them for being picked as stand out atheletes??? No can

  23. 88 December 24, 2016 11:31 am

    There is no way in hell that St. Louis should have to forfeit their State Title. They won that game. And I know for damn sure my RedRaiders would never except a win like this. This has been done to the RedRaiders before and trust we know the feeling but games are won on the feild. The adults who are suppose to be doing their jobs need to suffer the consequences and not the kids. FIRE the damn adults! I understand the saying “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” but do you people remember what happened to Kahuku after the dumb ass adults from the OIA made the decision to take away from these kids what they earned.

  24. Coach_B December 24, 2016 5:15 pm

    @88 and @Benz
    All players know the outside participation rule from intermediate through varsity. That is why inter and jv players cannot play in off season leagues like big boyz and such. I agree that the vast majority of the blame should indeed go to the athletic departments, and I also think that the rule should be repealed, but rules are rules and they shouldn’t claim ignorance in this case. If Kahuku had penalties for knowingly playing a ineligible reserve player, then STL should at least have similar penalties for playing ineligible starters. If anything have them void their ILH wins and keep their State title since this rule violation only affects ILH players

  25. ??? December 25, 2016 7:05 am

    FINAL Answer; STL forfeits state title for ineligible players.
    2016 State championship vacant.
    Fair is Fair (OIA,ILH,MIL) No matter

  26. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 25, 2016 11:26 pm

    i like how the whistleblower in 2010 waited for kahuku to play the last game of the season to out their ineligible bench warmer so the whole season was forfeited and they not able to play in post season. now here stlouis goes the entire season with two starters ineligible by ilh standards but none of these high makamaka elitists has a clue of the rules and no penalty for stlouis? i guess the state only hates kahuku…enemy of the state

  27. Coach_B December 26, 2016 12:58 am

    I’m not quite sure what you are talking about… Clearly there are people here that are arguing that STL should have penalties. I’d also argue that there are ILH people on here calling for STL penalties. Neither the HHSAA, nor the ILH, have said that they weren’t going to penalize STL. STL is also only in supposed violation of an ILH rule regarding eligibility, not an HHSAA rule. Therefore I don’t know why the HHSAA, the organizer of the state playoffs, would be involved.

    Furthermore, wasn’t Kahuku, like STL now, also guilty of not following the rules??? You can only have a whistleblower if you aren’t following the rules. Yes I agree that this is a similar situation to Kahuku’s, and yes there should be consequences, but there are key differences, and no one here is trying to hate on Kahuku so there’s no need to bring it up.

  28. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 26, 2016 7:12 am

    coach b, if stlouis is found guilty of using ineligible players then they would supposedly have to forfeit any ilh game that the said players participated in, so that means stl forfeit their regular ilh season games dropping their record to 0-7 and would be the 3rd place ilh team and not eligible for the hhsaa tourney.

    in 2010 the ineligible kahuku player was discovered b4 the hhsaa tourney and bcause they had to forfeit kahukus regular season games making their record 0-9 they dropped out of hhsaa playoff contention and their season ended. this is the same situation with stl.

  29. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 26, 2016 7:18 am

    i think paul honda should investigate and get some answers from the ilh. im not against stl having a great title season but everyone needs to play by the rules and the oia put their foot down against kahuku in 2010 so the ilh needs to put their foot down and show the same integrity IF stl did indeed break any rules.

  30. DoThisNow December 26, 2016 9:04 am

    Now ALL of Hawaii knows that STL has 2 student athletes who violated the no participation rule, and yes the student athletes know this rule. The ILH knew about this because the game was televised and they watched it on tv. Now what? Everyone who wants to force ILH has to contact them and complain Call their office and make them hear your concern and why they allow this to go unpunished. Continue to do this until they move on this very important matter. Make ILH do their job!

  31. BleedRed December 26, 2016 10:29 am

    Just curious to know if participating an an all star game which is what this basically is constitutes outside participation as far as the ILH is concerned.Can anyone clarify the rule.If it means anything outside of the ILH season,wouldn’t that also mean summer Pass leagues and any 7 on 7 tourneys.Dont know the exact rule that’s why I’m asking.Seems kind of selfish on the ILH part to keep the kids from showcasing their talents for scholarship purposes.

  32. Searider86 December 26, 2016 12:05 pm

    Interesting points, BleedRed…Not sure of the rules myself, but as a state our kids could use all the exposure they can get! Much MAHALOZ to the JPS administration for attempting to give a few underclassmen an opportunity to display themselves in an all-star setting. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

  33. Benz Pitolo December 26, 2016 1:42 pm

    @ DoThisNow very important matter? The stl players had to ask permission to play in the game. There were even ilh coaches last year. How the boys supposed to know they were violating rules? When there superiors approved it? You trying hard for make them look bad when they just kids braddah. States is over. Stl won. The penalty like 88 said should be on the staff. the main thing is the kids come first. They work hard all season like everybody else. No can punish them for being all stars ah?

  34. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 26, 2016 2:01 pm

    benz the same thing could have been said about 2010 kahukus season, punish the ad or coach or parents but no the boys had to suffer and their season came to an end.

    with the clear knowledge of many involved im sure there is some kind of loophole or process that was followed by the two stl players as to not penalize their 2016 ilh season games, but it would be nice for an official word on that matter since all of us are wondering.

  35. Benz Pitolo December 26, 2016 2:37 pm

    grabum.bythe.puppy so you saying let stl suffer because kahuku did? Eye for an eye? Kahuku’s punishment was unfair. You stay wishing the same thing on stl is nutzzzzzz.

    Somebody gotta speak up and clarify

  36. Coach_B December 26, 2016 2:53 pm

    Good point about the ILH record placing STL out of the playoffs IF they vacate their wins. I was just looking from the perspective that the ILH is the oddball in terms of outside participation rules, so even if the ILH enforces the current rules by vacating STL’s ILH wins, STL wasn’t in violation of state wide eligibility rules. If I remember correctly, in Kahuku’s case the ineligible player was in violation of an age rule that is universal across the state. If you want rules to be universal across all leagues, then STL’s players would be eligible for the post season because they didn’t violate a state-wide rule. There is a gray area there so its up for debate which rules supersede the other.

    In Kahuku’s case, wouldn’t you want your team in the playoffs if they deserve it? Like you said, the ineligible player was a non-factor competitively speaking, so Kahuku’s disqualification was due to technicality. Just saying to look at it from a different perspective.

  37. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 26, 2016 5:38 pm

    rules are rules it dont matter how each league does it. for example ilh transfer rules are different then oia transfer rules, if a 9th grader transfer from oia to ilh he will sit next year, if he go oia to oia he can play. the hhsaa dont look at the severity of the rules you break they just want the top teams from each league based on their league placements so if stl has to vacate their wins and end up 3rd in the ilh then the hhsaa would have to take that into consideration. the only difference with 2010 kahuku is the timing the issue surfaced. if the oia found out after the 2010 season and kahuku won the state title i would expect their oia and state title to be forfeited.

  38. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate December 26, 2016 5:53 pm

    kahukus ineligible player was not about age, he simply entered the 9th grade for one week and flunked back to 8th grade for academic issues. so technically his athletic eligibilty started on day 1 of that year in which he flunked. so his repeat of the 8th grade was his 1st year of eligibility, when he got to 11th grade it was his 4th and last to play sports but no one knew this. so when he got into 12th he decided to play sports for the first time in his life so he walked on to the football team and warmed the bench. the penalty was that he was a 5th year athlete and it was illegal.

    the funny thing was that no one knew this except one of his relatives that lives in town and hates kahuku so that relative waited and blew the whistle after kahuku finished their perfect season. what a dick yeah!

  39. Hadafakaya December 26, 2016 7:50 pm

    Break the rules pay the penalty! Applies to EVERYONE, Public or Private Schools!

  40. Alpha December 27, 2016 7:08 am

    Sending prayers out to the Feliciano Family. I know this doesn’t relate to the article but Stevie was a standout in the JPS (Razorbacks) league, and pretty much Moanalua’s entire offense. Keep fighting young uso. . .

  41. phILHarmonic December 27, 2016 9:15 am

    The OIA lets their underclassmen play.
    The ILH does not let their underclassmen play.

    Its a league infraction not a statewide rule infraction.

    It is at the discretion of the ILH if and how they will penalize St. Louis and if that penalty will affect their eligibility to have played in the state tournament.

    I believe these to be the facts thus far.

    Maybe the ILH will cut down St. Louis’s scholarships to 30 instead of 60 and restrict their Bowl appearances for 1 year?

    If St. Louis is forced to forfeit and Kahuku is crowned Champ, will there be a parade?

    A little levity on this breezy Tuesday morning.

  42. phILHarmonic December 27, 2016 9:32 am

    Dang, that kid was a beast at Moanalua. I feel for his family.

    In the Old Dayz, it was one on one, no weapons and a handshake after. You take cracks and give cracks.
    Now its, make trouble knowing you have your boys to back you up cause the other guys going have their boys and because they have bigger boys or more boys you have to have weapons. Such cowardice, and not really good friends.

    I hope the best for the family and that they find justice.

  43. AllHail December 27, 2016 9:35 am

    So what is the ILH penalty for a football player that competes in a non-ILH football event?

    If it’s nothing then the current ILH underclasman may as well get out there and play.

    If there is a penalty then out with it already instead of letting people talk about the what-ifs of it.

    This is where actual reporting comes into play.

  44. RPaahana December 27, 2016 12:46 pm

    I would love to see how the rule is written. Pop Warner has a similar rule, but it applies only during the season. The intent is to make sure kids don’t play in multiple leagues at the same time. What a kid does in the off season is their business. No other sport limits playing opportunities for athletes. In fact some of them prefer non-school leagues. I know of softball players that chose club teams over school and got to D-1 just the same. That being said pilau for ILH not enforcing their own rule on their own stars. I bet it will come out that some ILH coach has beef with the bowl organizers.

  45. AllHail December 27, 2016 6:21 pm

    RPaahana The rule is available with a google search. It’s clear, in the ILH athletics handbook under exceptions.

    1. Participants in football are not allowed outside participation for the entire school year.

    The rule is clear, whether it is “good” or “bad” it’s definitely a violation of that rule.

    Any reporters out there?

  46. Manley December 30, 2016 2:39 pm

    Just add an asterisk besides St Louis name for 2016. Just like 2010. That way make a category for ** . Then ( pending rule violations). One thing for sure, HHSAA will look at ILH when promoting a “fair” system like the State revamp playoffs.

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