The wait continues, but there is light at the end of this tunnel.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association is expected to release its updated sports calendar soon. How soon depends on the Department of Health, but the HHSAA’s sports calendar committee has essentially dotted its i’s and crossed its t’s.
“The schedule is tentative and a work in progress. The HHSAA is working with the State Department of Health, as well as all five leagues to finalize the schedule and safety protocols,” said Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association President Deren Oshiro.
Oshiro is part of the sports calendar committee and is also athletic director at Hawaii Baptist Academy.
Winter sports are expected to begin with league play only, wiping out all preseason/nonconference competition. That would put a start date for winter-season games in early January, according to some coaches.
Hawaii’s public schools have been closed since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a statewide lockdown. Now in its second lockdown, Hawaii opened its doors to tourists over the weekend, provided the out-of-state visitors are tested 72 hours before arriving. Only Hawaii Island has required a second test, on its turf, of the out-of-state arrivals.
Oshiro cautioned that an announcement is not imminent. There is also no guarantee that all sports will have a state championship tournament. If the DOH approves the new sports calendar and protocols, HHSAA Executive Director Christopher Chun will make the announcement.
Air riflery and bowling are the only fall sports expected to be in play this fall. All other fall sports were postponed until early 2021. That led a number of island athletes to transfer to mainland schools, mostly to play football. Among them was Kahuku starting quarterback Tiger Adolpho and Kamehameha sophomore linebacker Tausili Akana, who both landed in Idaho and Utah, respectively, at powerhouse programs. Athletes who played football out of state will not be eligible to play the sport this academic year — in early 2021 — if they transfer back to the islands.
Another athlete, all-state guard Leiah Naeata of Kahuku, moved to Las Vegas to play offseason club basketball — and gain more exposure — rather than risk not having a senior season on Oahu.
Many coaches are waiting on pins and needles for direction, for a start date for protocol-based workouts. Within the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, some coaches had wondered about the possibility of a league-only football season in the fall, but that notion was shut down for the time being.
Note: Corrects Adolpho’s current location (Idaho).