Kahuku vs. OIA: Legal Eagles at work

It’s Monday morning, I’ve had my oatmeal and banana, and Kahuku’s legal team is filing suit against the OIA, HHSAA and the DOE state superintendent in court.

It’s come to this.

On one hand, attorney Eric Seitz has said clearly that the intent is mainly to get all parties to sit down and discuss this delicate, complex matter. On the other, the state football tournament is set to begin on Friday and the gears are in motion. Planet tickets. Hotel Reservations. Car/bus rentals. Untangling all of that stuff would be inconvenient, to say the least. Not impossible, but difficult.

Judge Rhonda Nishimura is presiding in district court. Once she gets the suit in hand, there will be time to review. I’m not legal buff, but learning the process as it unfolds is actually not too painful.

Seeing what’s happened with Kahuku because of the ineligibility issue and disqualification … that is painful to watch.

UPDATE, 11:22 a.m.: Word is that Nishimura is not the judge presiding over this case. Judge Karl Sakamoto is presiding and the hearing will be tomorrow. Our court reporters are on this, but I’m very curious about the outcome. So, it seems, is a statewide football community.

My question is this: If, in fact, the player in question was not a ninth grader for very long before being sent back to eighth grade (to repeat), would he have been allowed to play varsity sports then? Did his eligibility clock begin while he repeated eighth grade (if that’s the actual scenario)?

Or did his clock begin the following year? It’s another gray-area question, one of many in this case.

My head is starting to hurt.

UPDATE, 12:33 p.m.: OK, correction. No hearing is set yet for Tuesday. But all parties will convene this afternoon (2:30 p.m.) with Judge Sakamoto. I have no clue what happens then, but I’ll be tuned in.

UPDATE, 3:31 p.m.: The conference is done and Judge Sakamoto will preside over an evidence hearing tomorrow, 8:30 a.m. at district court. Witnesses will be involved.

From what I understand, Judge Sakamoto is a former public defender. Hard to say if that helps or hurts either side, but the fact that this is going to a hearing is interesting. The details will be laid out in the open for all to see.

I just hope this process results in putting a higher priority on compliance for everyone, meaning administrators, coaches and teachers need to have the manpower and resources to get these tedious, important tasks done.

Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser


  1. Dean November 8, 2010 9:31 pm

    Thanks for the update Paul.

    Will the DOE, HHSAA and OIA all be present with their counsel?

  2. godolphins November 8, 2010 9:35 pm

    True, it has eventually come down to the courts to decide. But if they only could of caught this ahead of time before it was blown out of proportion only at the end of the season, it wouldn't of cost all the unnecessary pain, suffering, and humiliation for the Kahuku School and the entire Red Raiders football team who had an undefeated 2010 season. Mr. Paul Honda, not intended for a scandalous story or anything, someone should investigate the recent hiring of Coach Marciel, along with the recent recruitment of five star basketball players from the ILH and OIA, who will be exempt from sitting out for a year due to transfer rules, and also the eligibility requirements to state that all these five players are exempt due to “special needs”. I can see Assets School or even some of AOP's previous student athletes that were on the team already, but not all of these five newly recruited star basketball athletes. Were all these five recruits problem students with behavioral, learning, or academic deficiencies at their previous schools? Rules are rules. Stop going around them to build a successful quick-fixed basketball team. Either Coach Marciel and AD Ryan Hogue have some strong pulls and ties with the ILH basketball world, or does the ILH and HHSAA executive directors have deep pockets. It seems that AOP has some financial backing or rich boosters to offer these new basketball recruits $16,400.00 (AOP tuition) to immediately transfer from other ILH and OIA programs to play immediately for a year or two without sitting out due to transferring rules and regulations. Someone should investigate this wrongdoing and stop it NOW before it becomes a big issue similar to the one that's affecting the entire Kahuku School and Red Raiders football program. The ILH basketball season starts very soon. Someone has to stop this injustice and travesty now before it eventually blows up in the AOP's and the ILH's face during or after the ILH basketball season ends.

  3. pupulepaul November 8, 2010 10:37 pm

    Dean, answer is yes. I just heard about the conference coming this afternoon.

  4. pupulepaul November 8, 2010 10:37 pm

    godolphins, thanks for the post. Are you saying AOP is breaking rules?

  5. Dean November 9, 2010 1:40 am

    Thanks again for the updates Paul.

    Interesting that The Court is really going forward with a hearing.

  6. d1shima November 9, 2010 2:37 am

    Since you titled this “Legal Eagles” maybe someone can answer this:

    There was a comment that the Kahuku players would continue practicing with or without the coaches.
    Are they practicing?
    Are the coaches supervising?
    Are they using school property? Field? Equipment?
    Who is assuming responsibility for liability?

  7. Kendyll November 9, 2010 3:10 am

    im sorry but rules are rules, its sad that the kids are punished for the coaches stupidity but thats how it is. better luck next year kahuku.

  8. godolphins November 9, 2010 8:30 pm

    Don't know. Don't know all the legalities behind these AOP exemptions for

    these newly admitted talented basketball transfers. Just seems wrong and

    dishonest to allow seemingly healthy and normal student athletes to slide

    around the Hawaii high school student athlete transfer rules (sitting out a

    year/redshirt?) by participating immediately by using the “special needs”

    exemption given to the schools (Assets and AOP) to accommodate the deserving

    and disadvantaged student athletes medically and psychologically diagnosed

    with true “special needs” status. I'm assuming that AOP has recently

    acquired new documentation dated only after the new coach was given the

    basketball job, but I'm sure you won't find any documentation or records of

    “special needs” status or accommodations at any one of the new recruit's

    previous schools. It seems as though the Academy of the Pacific's (AOP)

    basketball coach and AD are deceivingly using this “SPECIAL NEEDS” SCHOOL

    TRANSFER RULE EXEMPTION to field their basketball team with 4-5 newly

    recruited healthy and normal basketball stars from other ILH and OIA schools

    who are all upperclassmen with only a year or two left on their high school

    eligibility clock. It sure doesn't sound fair to all the deserving student

    athletes that were on AOP's basketball roster the past years. Also,

    financial assistance and academic scholarships is a given and needed in

    Hawaii's current tough economy, but offering a free ride ($16,480.00

    tuition) to play AOP basketball immediately sounds more like an athletic

    scholarship or financially recruiting. But what do I know. The bottom line

    is that the transfer rule exemption was given to the school to accommodate

    disadvantaged student athletes with special needs (physical and mental

    disabilities, behavioral problems, learning and social difficulties) to

    participate in ILH high school sports. I don't think that this transfer rule

    exemption was meant to be given to these 4-5 healthy and normal

    upperclassmen basketball athletes to quick-fix their basketball program. As

    Kahuku Red Raiders are being reprimanded for an eligibility rule violation,

    I'm hoping that the Academy of the Pacific, the Headmaster Lou Young, the

    AOP AD Ryan Hogue, the ILH Executive Directors, and the HHSAA Executive

    Director Christopher Chun rectifies this issue now before it blows up out of

    proportion. As the OIA's Kahuku Red Raiders football team must abide by the

    rules and the court's decision, so should the ILH and the Academy of the

    Pacific basketball program. Don't go around the rules and create for a

    loophole just to boost your AOP basketball program.

  9. pupulepaul November 10, 2010 11:40 am

    godolphins, are they breaking rules or not? Yes or no?

    I appreciate your input, but unless you can answer decisively, what is your point? (And I don't mean your opinion and feelings. I'm asking for something concrete.)


  10. godolphins November 10, 2010 8:34 pm

    To tell you the truth, I really don't know if they are breaking the rules or

    not. I don't know where to look for the specific ILH transfer “special

    needs” exemption rules or regulations. My hands are actually tied to file a

    formal complaint or request an internal investigation due to more than

    possible conflicts and retaliations towards my family. The issue is too

    close to home. The facts that I'm sure of is that AOP and Assets School

    (special needs schools) has qualified for a transfer exemption eligibility

    rule for student athletes with special needs to participate immediately in

    ILH Division II events. These newly recruited 4-5 basketball athletes from

    other ILH and OIA basketball programs definitely don't qualify as students

    with special needs (physical or mental disabilities, learning disabilities,

    behavioral issues, handicapped, psychologically challenged, etc.). The

    schools qualified for the special needs transfer exemption rule for their

    disadvantaged and deserving students, but these 4-5 healthy and normal star

    basketball athletes shouldn't be given the special needs exemption to play

    immediately when other transfers at other ILH and OIA schools must follow

    the rules by sitting out a year to prevent coaches, ADs, and schools from

    only recruiting star athletes to only boost their athletic programs. And for

    a school that qualifies for the special needs participation exemption for

    disadvantaged, disabled, or challenged students, how does the AOP basketball

    program now qualify to be promoted to the ILH Division I after years of

    sub-par season records? I thought teams earn a promotion or demotion

    according to their previous season records and performances. These are the

    only concrete facts that I know of, not opinions or feelings. This isn't

    about my feelings, it's about whats right and wrong, and whats fair and

    unfair to other students at the school and other student athletes from other

    schools who follow the rules and sit out a year after transferring to

    another school with the sole purpose to play a particular sport. Does this

    sound legitimate to you? By the way, are you from Kahuku?

  11. phonda November 12, 2010 9:38 am

    godolphins, why are you repeating the same mantra all over again when I ask a simple question?

    1. If no rules are being broken, what is the point of your litany?

    2. If it’s not about your feelings, what else could it be?

    3. Instead of ranting about the perceived indiscretions of another entity, tell me about what you stand for and what school you support. That would be far more interesting.

    4. I’m not from Kahuku.

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