A Hawaii First Circuit Court judge on Tuesday denied a motion by the parents of St. Francis athlete Skylar Kalilikane-McMoore for a preliminary injunction in a football transfer-rule case.
Fata McMoore and Starr Kalilikane, the parents of Kalilikane-McMoore (a junior offensive lineman previously declared ineligible under Hawaii High School Athletic Association rules) had filed for the preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the Oahu Interscholastic Association in an effort to get their son on the playing field before the season in progress ends.
The denial was made by Judge Keith K. Hiraoka. It’s a setback for the Kalilikane-McMoore family, but according to Stephanie Segovia, who is an attorney for the family along with Mark Valencia, they are proceeding with the case.
The latest ruling finds that Kalilikane-McMoore participated in the 2017 football season for the Pearl City Chargers, making him ineligible to play the 2018 season for St. Francis.
Kalilikane-McMoore transferred to St. Francis in August 2017 and his family thought they were doing the right thing by having him sit out all of St. Francis’ 2017 games, not realizing that 11 practices in July was considered participation in the 2017 season (under HHSAA transfer rules, seven days or more of practice constitutes participating in the season).
Further compounding Kalilikane-McMoore’s situation was the creation of the OIA-ILH alliance, so instead of having to abide by ILH transfer rules only, he was also under HHSAA rules.
Previously, the Kalilkane-McMoores applied to the ILH for an exemption, but were denied. However, by August 2018, the ILH declared the lineman eligible under their rules, which caps a player’s sit-out time at 12 months.
But that cap is not in the HHSAA rule, and so when the family applied for an exemption there, they were denied.
According to Segovia, Judge Hiraoka late last month made an inclination that the ILH should be the party that makes an eligibility ruling. So the league went back for a review of Kalilikane-McMoore’s exemption appeal, considered both ILH and HHSAA rules and, last Friday, declared Kalilikane-McMoore ineligible.
That preceded Hiraoka’s denial of the preliminary injunction by five days.
Kalilikane-McMoore was able to play one game this season — a 26-6 victory over Pac-Five, a game between two ILH schools that did not also need HHSAA approval.
The ILH executive board, in its decision to rule Kalilikane-McMoore ineligible last Friday, wrote: “While the Board is sympathetic to the student-athlete’s situation, it does not rise to the level of a special case where transfer, eligibility, and participation rules agreed to by the leagues should be invalidated. The Board declines to create a case-by-case exception to the clear transfer rule based upon the significance or duration of the student-athlete’s involvement in the sport.”
Segovia does not agree with the ILH’s ruling or the court’s decision and does not think that the rules are clear.
“Among other reasons, the ambiguity in the rules allows for a student … to sit out two years for transferring when only a one-year penalty was contemplated,” Segovia wrote in an email to Hawaii Prep World. “It is our position that this is an unjust result.”
Chris Chun, the executive director of the HHSAA, and the HHSAA’s attorneys have declined comment. ILH football coordinator Georges Gilbert could not be reached for comment.
Kalilikane-McMoore will be eligible to participate in his senior year in 2019.