As reported by Nick Abramo in this story from Friday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the OIA is debating whether or not to participate in the new state high school football tournament format.
A Sept. 6 letter signed by league president Wade Araki was sent to Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Chris Chun. Chun responded in a letter dated Sept. 9 addressing Araki’s issues. Here are the concerns expressed by the OIA and the responses from Chun:
OIA: 1. The legitimacy of the procedures involved in the HHSAA’s executive board decision of Aug. 22 to implement a three-tiered state football format as a one-year pilot program.
Chun: “From Article V of the HHSAA constitution, (the HHSAA) has exclusive control over state championship contests and tournaments. Each regular member of the (HHSAA) executive board shall have the number of votes equal to the number of HHSAA member schools in the league he/she represents.” (Of the five Hawaii leagues, four voted in favor of the new football structure and the OIA abstained.)
OIA: 2. The validity of the new Open division (the top tier of the new format) as a “true” state championship, since only two leagues (the OIA and the Interscholastic League of Honolulu) are involved and since all HHSAA tournaments have at least three leagues participating.
Chun: “The Open division is a state championship. You referenced that the HHSAA needs three leagues to conduct a state championship. However, this refers to the creation of a new sport, not a new division within that sport. In this case, the Open division refers to the sport of football, in which all leagues currently participate.”
OIA: 3. A departure from the HHSAA’s formula for state tournaments, which gives out berths to leagues in proportion to the amount of teams in a given league. In this case, the OIA is wondering why two Open division berths were given to the ILH and four to the OIA, when the proportion of OIA football-playing teams to ILH teams (22-7) is much greater.
Chun: “The Division I and II tournaments follow the league representation formula, but there are exceptions when the formula is not followed. Leagues are granted minimum berths in some state tournaments, which include air riflery, bowling, golf, cheerleading and even football. In the Open division, if the formula (based on four OIA Open teams and three ILH Open teams) was followed, the OIA woud only receive three berths (instead of four) and the ILH would receive three berths instead of two.”
OIA: 4. Whether the HHSAA addressed Title IX compliance when increasing the state football tournament from two divisions and 12 teams to three divisions and 20 teams. (By law, Title IX mandates that girls and boys have the same opportunities in sports, and football is played almost exclusively by boys.)
Chun: “The HHSAA has always been cognizant and proactive when it comes to Title IX. Even after the expansion (of football), there will still be 28 more girls teams (166) participating than boys (138). The HHSAA has met, and will continue to meet, with community leaders and experts in this area to ensure that we remain compliant.”
OIA: 5. The uncertainty of how the evaluation of the pilot program will be conducted and the process of how it will be determined if the format continues or is made permanent.
Chun: “The (HHSAA) football committee will be convened following the fall season to evaluate the new format and advise the HHSAA executive board of its findings. This topic will be placed on the agenda at (the next four) board meetings for discussion.”