Kaiser to “modify” season due to low numbers

Kaiser's lack of numbers this season has put its season in jeopardy. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

The Kaiser varsity football team is planning to play some games this season, but how many is a question that has not been answered yet.

Principal Justin Mew, after a meeting of parents and coaches, said in a statement late Friday night that the Cougars’ season will be modified.

According to Lindsay Chambers, a Department of Education spokesperson, 19 players were at official varsity tryouts this week and several of them were deemed ineligible.


“Due to a shortage of varsity football players for the 2017 season, Kaiser High School will be having a modified season in order to participate in the OIA league,” Mew said in the statement. “The determination was made by myself, athletic director Nelson Chee and the coaching staff. When faced to make the call between Kaiser’s honored tradition of competitive football and the risk of student safety, our students’ well-being is the priority. Every effort will be made by the Cougar varsity program to allow growth and training throughout this season to continue to build a strong program at Kaiser. At this point in time, the junior varsity football team does have the numbers to safely develop a competitive season and will move forward as planned.”

Mew did not go into the specifics about what he meant by a modified season.

One parent who was at the meeting, however, said a situation in which Kaiser would play just three games was discussed. Jessica Tafao, the mother of two players on the Cougars varsity team, said that one possible outcome is that the Cougars play games against Aiea, Moanalua and Radford.

When asked neither Mew nor Chee could confirm that that specific plan was discussed.

Arnold Martinez, the Kaiser varsity head coach, could not be reached for comment.

Another onlooker at the meeting who did not want to be identified said that Kaiser still has a varsity team and that decisions would be made week to week on whether games can be played.


“The meeting (which was held at 7 p.m. on Friday at the school’s library) was about safety,” he said. “The coaches and administration wanted us to know about the low numbers and that no final decision was made. If the (roster) numbers go below the safety threshhold, then the school would make a decision at that time. I don’t think they would want to put 11 kids against Waianae’s 90.”

Tafao, who was contacted by phone, did not hesitate to show her displeasure.

“These are adults who are supposed to be shaping kids’ futures by way of football, and I think they’ve completely dropped the ball,” she said. “A lot of players have been working hard in the summer and some of them have been at it since last season ended. Everyone in charge is acting like their hands are tied.”

A year ago, Kaiser had just 28 varsity players and played against many of the top teams in the state. Less than 19 players is a whole different story.

“Tryout week is over,” said one parent close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This is the reality: There are low numbers. But nothing is set in stone. I understand the safety concerns.”

If what Tafao said about Kaiser playing just three games comes to fruition, then the Cougars would play home games on their brand-new artificial turf field against Radford (Aug. 19) and Moanalua (Sept. 22) and at Aiea (Sept. 8). That would mean the following games would be forfeited: at Roosevelt (Aug. 4), vs. Mililani (Aug. 11), at Campbell (Sept. 1), at Kahuku (Sept. 16), and vs. Waianae (Sept. 30).


“A lot of parents were going for that plan,” she said.

There was no word on whether the Kaiser varsity would play in a scheduled scrimmage this Thursday at Kaimuki.

COMMENTS

  1. Hyn July 22, 2017 10:17 am

    All these smaller division 1 teams sooner or later going either fold or drop to division 2. It’s not worth the risk of them getting hurt because they can’t compete with the bigger teams. Then we going see some real games at the division 1 level.


  2. 808 sports fan July 22, 2017 12:22 pm

    If kaiser only plans to play 3 games. They should be ruled ineligible for the postseason. Moanalua, radford and Aiea got to play those top teams… I think aiea plays kahuku the week before they play kaiser.


  3. A'ole July 22, 2017 12:43 pm

    After this season, Kaiser still might not be able to drop down to D2. Radford and Nanakuli went winless last year and unless they have a breakout year, those 2 teams will drop down before Kaiser,


  4. bandits1 July 22, 2017 12:53 pm

    The OIA should immdiately drop Kaiser down to D2 where the players and/or roster sizes are more suited to their own, and redo both schedules…for the third time.


  5. Hmmmmm July 22, 2017 1:09 pm

    Teams such as Waipahu and Pearl City should be in D1. Their student enrollment is high and the turn out for football backs that up.


  6. turfwar July 22, 2017 1:39 pm

    After spending $4 million on a new football field Kaiser is actually in danger of not fielding a team this year. Meanwhile teams like Kahuku, Waianae, Kailua and others with vibrant programs still play on hard outdated fields that were constructed over 50 years ago.


  7. kaiseralumi July 22, 2017 3:20 pm

    Kaiser has enough students and players to play and compete. 2015 & 2016 they came 4th and 3rd in Division 1. Last year they get a new coach and win only 1 game, this year they can’t even field a team. Picking who you play and who you don’t play should not be allowed by Kaiser or the OIA. Its not the size of the school or enrollment that’s the problem.


  8. NinerFaithful July 22, 2017 3:40 pm

    I think the OIA should make 3 divisions:
    Open
    DI
    DII

    And that would be perfect for states


  9. 808 Surf Guy July 22, 2017 4:12 pm

    So if they move them to D2 schedule how will that make sense since it is a matter of number to field a varisty team. The level has nothing to do with safety. Football is football. If you don’t have the number to field a varsity team then they have two choices. Not have one or bring up the whole JV team. Trust the coach and the administration in that they are doing the right thing. If all of the knuckles heads that talk about how football is a dangerous sport just chill and relax. Then Kaiser would have enough players and they would want to play.


  10. Mahatma Gandhi July 22, 2017 4:14 pm

    Maybe you gotta combine Kalani and Kaiser into 1 team, like Pac-5. Half the Hawaii Kai and Kahala kids go to private schools.


  11. Kuana July 22, 2017 4:46 pm

    Kaiser Grad 91″ looking at this brings shame to the game ! Look at all if the good football 🏈 players from Boyd yap! To I can’t even count , Now your saying to me you wanna bring back Flag football ! Come on coaches ‘ my nephew left the team last year because he was told he was hitting to hard . Really well I think it’s time to buckle up and look for a new coach and a new administrator because this isn’t working. Shame but A it is what it is ” buy the way Nice Field what is that gonna be used for ?


  12. WKS July 22, 2017 6:09 pm

    Next season, play 8 man football against Maui schools…. all the schools with small rosters should.


  13. James Jones July 22, 2017 8:51 pm

    I really don’t think it the enrollment problem, I believe the problem is that Hawaii Kai is a rich neighborhood, and some of students goes to private schools like St. Louis or Punahou. They don’t have chance to win against Moanalua, I don’t know about Aiea, their jv team went 0-8. Radford might be close tho, but you expected Radford to go high this season jv team was 3-6. But if you talk about safety they should move down to D2, and let Waipahu move up to D1. I feel sorry for the head coach this year.


  14. $ July 22, 2017 9:01 pm

    Bring back Rich Miano. This coach was not winning at Moanalua, just a .500 coach.


  15. Q July 22, 2017 10:35 pm

    The problem is D1….kids aren’t coming out because of that. Dave Reardon should get another article going on how the OIA likes to bully the little schools and not even make any attempt to make adjustments. Yes, Kaiser was good when Miano was here, moving up to D1 and doing decent in 2014 and 2015 because the 2013 Varsity and 2013 JV team won the D2 Championship that year. Those JV boys moved up in tack for the 2014 and 2015 season and competed well with returning varsity boys. But the OIA needs to look at how many returnees, jv record to determine D1, D2 or like the mentioned earlier maybe a three tier like the state tourney, Open, D1 or D2. Dave Reardon maybe you can put a scare on the OIA to change the schedule one more time. The kids are the ones that suffer, we should all look at the big picture…..


  16. Outlaw July 23, 2017 12:43 am

    Kalani doesn’t need Kaiser, they are doing ok.


  17. Q July 23, 2017 8:07 am

    The problem is D1….kids at Kaiser aren’t coming out because of that. Yes, Kaiser was good when Miano was here, moving up to D1 and doing decent in 2014 and 2015 because both 2013 Varsity and 2013 JV team won the D2 Championships that year. Those JV boys moved up in tack for the 2014 and 2015 season and competed well with returning varsity boys. But the OIA needs to look at how many returning players and jv record to determine D1, D2. In 2014 the JV won 1 game by forfeit in 2015 the JV won 2 games when Miano was gone . Like NinerFaithful mentioned in an earlier post maybe a three tier Open, D1 or D2. The next season should not be evaluated every 2 years, it should be a year to year evaluation to determine division status. Dave Reardon maybe you can put a scare on the OIA again to change the schedule one more time. The students and the community (football players, band, homecoming, attendance, concession) are the ones that suffer, the OIA should look at the big picture…..


  18. phILHarmonic July 23, 2017 2:19 pm

    Might be a sign of the times. With all the info on the long term effects of concussions makes sense that the “upper middle class” type families (i.e Hawaii Kai/Kahala) who think the risk might not be worth it are the first ones to opt out. Heard this discussion on Fox Sports recently. Panelists were saying that in 10 to 15 years only underprivileged segments who see football as a “way out” or to get opportunities otherwise not available to them will be playing the sport. You see it with the OIA juggernauts and with ILH teams that stack their teams with kids who aren’t from their usual student demographic have no reason to be at their schools other than play football.


  19. Dana July 23, 2017 4:15 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Just 4 years ago, Kaiser won the D2 State Championships. Had over 75 kids on Varsity and a thriving JV program. Richard Miano was arguably the best coach in High School at the time and assembled a tremendous staff. Chad Ikei was instrumental in building an offseason program. As a result, at least 12 Kaiser players continued on to the College level to play football. There was so much grumbling about transfers, workouts, fundraising etc. all of which were mistruths. Souza is removed, Mew is in, and in a few short years Kaiser has fallen to where it is today. On the verge of cancelling a season and potentially dropping a program. All of these issues were discussed several years ago after many questioned the State Championship and success Kaiser football was experiencing. No wonder parents choose to enroll their children in private school, no wonder athletes with ability choose to compete elsewhere. With the Hawaii public school education well below the national average, why would any parents/athletes choose to attend a school where administrators continuously make poor decisions, continue to make excuses for lack of performance, and most importantly, continue to make the lives of student athletes even more difficult than it already is. You authorize the construction of a $4 million dollar facility and 2 weeks before the season, announce that the field potentially may not have a participating football program. Nice work DOE. That $$ could have went to a school who has a thriving program with administrators that understand the value of athletics and downright deserve that type of facility. Beg Miano to come back, beg Ikei to come back. Give that community their pride back. Give the kids what they deserve. A chance!


  20. Booey July 23, 2017 6:07 pm

    Chill out, complainers. The stadium is used even if Kaiser football has issues. Other schools use the field as their home, and not just for football.


  21. Booey July 23, 2017 6:08 pm

    The stadium is used even if Kaiser football has issues. Other schools use the field as their home, and not just for football.


  22. Former OIA insider July 23, 2017 6:38 pm

    New administration? AD only got the job last year after football. Dana Takahara-Dias is a VP there, can’t imagine she would agree to this. Anyone who believes athletics is important in the educational realm, should provide the opportunity for the kids. No where was there mention of what the players want. Having played at a town school with rosters of under 30, I relished the opportunity to go up against the big programs. Plus Kaiser needs their “piece of the pie” from both a JV/varsity football team to support their other non revenue generating sports. Btw, schools can petition annually to move up or down from D1 and D2. Kaiser probably didn’t think it was going to be this bad. Yet the school wants to pump in $ to its football program. Anyone realize how many uniform combinations Kaiser football has


  23. Positivity July 23, 2017 8:11 pm

    Coach Martinez is a great person and coach that cares for his players. Enough grumbling and complaining parents! You are an embarrassment to our community. Almost every sport at kaiser has a group of parents that complain. ENOUGH ALREADY!! Support your athlete and their coaches and be positive role models as parents. The majority of the parents don’t feel the way that a select few do. We want for our kids to enjoy their high school sports. If you don’t like the coach, then don’t play. Period.


  24. Education First July 23, 2017 8:27 pm

    Word on the street is many of the kids and parents are turned off by the coach’s style of communicating and instructing. Also the continuous implementing of God is overwhelming some folks. Take that for what it’s worth…..


  25. 4daKids July 23, 2017 10:56 pm

    The writing is on the wall and no one wants to own up! Administration is to blame! AD sucks and doesn’t know shit about providing a sound program for the athletes, and I’m not only speaking about football… The football Coach Martinez better take a look in the mirror! Same thing happened when he was the Coach at Moanalua. Small state, bad rep follows longtime… Just another Haole (or whatever he is) from the mainland with the attitude he above hawaiians.


  26. phILHarmonic July 24, 2017 10:20 am

    Might be a sign of the times. With all the info on the long term effects of concussions makes sense that the “upper middle class” type families (i.e Hawaii Kai/Kahala) who think the risk might not be worth it are the first ones to opt out. Heard this discussion on Fox Sports recently. Panelists were saying that in 10 to 15 years only underprivileged segments who see football as a “way out” or to get opportunities otherwise not available to them will be playing the sport. You see it with the OIA juggernauts and with ILH teams that stack their teams with kids who aren’t from their usual student demographic have no reason to be at their schools other than play football.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————

    phony PHIL at it again. for some reason hes infatuated with me. whoever you are, no means no.


  27. Maika'i ke kanaka July 24, 2017 12:47 pm

    As a parent i have every right to grumble. I never grumbled in the past. I bit my tongue when my son would comment on the martinez would say things negative. As a coach you should be keeping things positive. No one should be called savages just because they are not wearing a shirt. These student atheletes have sacrificed since February. Thats fine if you have comments, just remember there are circumstances that you or i dont know. Some of these players could be missing out on furthering their education and sport they love. There are options. The school could easily cancel varsity football. Ask the OIA and DOE to allow some players the oppurtunity to play this season. Especially the seniors! Everyobe says we got to do best for our children. Well not allowing the few who really want to play has no justice. There many whats, whos, whys and how this all happened. Well it did, now the only thing is solutions.
    He manawa no ka pa’oihana i ho’inoio e ka poe i manao ia lakou iho he maika’i
    Me ka pumehana


  28. phILHarmonic July 25, 2017 9:59 am

    Maybe they can transfer to Kailua?? That would be beneficial for them and the Kailua team.

    I feel for the parents of the seniors, I hope that they find a way to make it work.


  29. No worry July 28, 2017 10:48 am

    It’s the coach. Ever since he was there no one wanted to come out football used to be fun but now it’s all about numbers and test it supposed to be for the kids not for the coaches especially Martinez. He was supposed to take the team up to the mainland and play instead he used that money for him and the coaches to go up there and get experience now come on why would the coaches need experience when it’s the kids that are playing


  30. Aaron August 17, 2017 7:46 pm

    I’m a senior at kaiser and the coach won’t let players come out. There is 6 players that are trying to play but the coach said no


  31. Jp August 19, 2017 9:40 am

    To Aaron…of course he won’t let u six players come out because that’s how high school football is. There is a time period when you can join in any sport. most of us have been out since February busting our asses like you are supposed to when you try out for high school football. You think u can just show up when u want to and play. Sorry this is not pop warner. Every high school coach has those rules not jus coach Martinez. So stop whining. Where were u six when we needed you during the mandatory tryouts when the coaches had to determine who was actually on the team….probably at Sandy beach. So we don’t need you now. If you wanna play next year, see you in February.


  32. Jp August 19, 2017 9:52 am

    Funny how all u parents and whoever else you are have so much bad stuff to say about our coach and none of you have ever played for him and the rest of our coaches. Why are you guys trying to make so much trouble. You are hurting us players that love coach Martinez, coach Tim, coach Ryan, coach Dan, coach Pono, coach Keanu. Please stop already!!!!!


  33. Jp August 19, 2017 10:37 am

    Oh and Aaron. Sorry I forgot u a senior. I mean tell ur friends come out in February too bad for u. I heard who some of u guys who like come out and some of u was on the team and quit. U ditched us guys so why u like come back now. U quitters…we no like u guys anyway.


  34. HK girl September 12, 2017 7:02 pm

    @JP, again it was confirmed that none of the varsity boys posted comments 31, 31 & 33. This is that jv dad again showing false support. Please be honest and post as yourself. It is not helping the situation and you are not fooling anyone. Thank you.


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