OIA football changes in ’18 will be ‘quite drastic’

Pearl City's Kasey Kikuyama returns to lead the Chargers defense. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association is in the process of making big changes in football for 2018.

Harold Tanaka, the OIA football coordinator, did not go into detail because the league is still in the talking stages, but he did say via cell phone on Tuesday that the changes will be “quite drastic.”

Tanaka did not confirm that the league is planning to go to a three-tier format, but in February he mentioned that he thought the league should move to three tiers in 2018.

You can read Tanaka’s comments from this Feb. 19 story.

For more than a few years, there has been an outcry from the general public and some coaches that the league’s competitive balance is not right, with too many mismatches and some teams barely able to field a team going against perennial powerhouses.

In February, Tanaka said three tiers will be “on the table” for 2018. He was also quoted as saying, “Everyone is working for what’s best in the OIA and what’s best statewide. We’re trying hard to get it right.”

To some, the OIA’s political maneuvering designed to kill the three-tiered state tournament for 2017 was 180 degrees from Tanaka’s February comment. The OIA voted as a bloc and it effectively led to a compromise designed by the Hawaii High School Athletic Assocation’s football committee in which the three tiers were saved but that the OIA will only be participating in two.

But if you look closer and take Tanaka at his word, he had 2018 in mind; in other words, the OIA felt it was not ready for the three-tiered pilot program in 2016 nor the continuation of it in 2017.

But it might be ready come 2018.

When asked for details about the 2018 changes, Tanaka said that the league will be in discussions throughout this season, but that no decisions will be made until after the season.


  1. Outlaw August 10, 2017 5:00 pm

    Let’s hope the State, DOE, and OIA can get it kind of right! Cross your fingers, get the ti leaves, and pray to whatever religion you believe…

  2. 88 August 10, 2017 5:50 pm

    Everyone knows whats best. They just don’t want to do it. Merge the ILH and OIA Football Power Schools and create a competitive league where the BEST play the BEST and get BETTER. But no, they won’t do it because of either personal feelings or personal agendas. So from now until the 2nd coming of Christ we will keep watching Kahuku kill Waipahu, Mililani beat the hell out of Leilehua, Kapolei smash Castle, Farrington murder Roosevelt and Waianae slap around Radford.

  3. HS FB Fan August 10, 2017 6:11 pm

    Hate to break it to you but there is no way to eliminate one-sided games. Sometimes they happen between the big boys (Kahuku-Kapolei last year).

  4. Crackseed August 10, 2017 6:17 pm

    Merging is an option but only the ILH will benefit. OIA should go back to their Red, White, and Blue from the 90’s with a few changes of course.

  5. 88 August 10, 2017 6:20 pm

    Only the ILH will benefit? Why do you think this?

  6. 808 sports fan August 10, 2017 7:18 pm

    It all comes down to money… will the ILH agree to slip it 50/50 with the OIA for football?

  7. 808 sports fan August 10, 2017 7:21 pm

    Damn auto spell. I meant split the money from game revenue

  8. Hyn August 10, 2017 7:36 pm

    88- I agree with you . For the safety and competitiveness of the game they should merge.

  9. Scoops August 10, 2017 8:07 pm

    Merger idea is from an ILH guy, the ILH needs games, due to their situation. OIA feels like “why should we help ILH!?!?” The 30K per school was like “ftiendly bribe” to entice OIA schools, since OIA always talking about money shortage.

  10. Scoops August 10, 2017 8:10 pm

    “friendly bribe”, sorry fat fingers

  11. Grabum.by.da.puppy August 10, 2017 8:21 pm

    if ilh merge den more kids want go ilh in superlegue

  12. ILH makes their own rules anyway....... August 10, 2017 8:41 pm

    Tanaka should retire like many of the ADs that run these programs. Too much backward thinking. Look at how far we have come and now get selfish, idiotic people who are not wanting to move forward and give more opportunities for kids. Pretty soon really good coaches are going to step down because they are not going to have opportunities to get to the post season because of dumb decision people make that don’t have any investment in the kids. They just doing stuff to do it. Power trippin. So sad these OG’s. They supposed to leave it better than when they came but many are ruining it for the next generations. Sucks

  13. Mark Vermin August 11, 2017 1:06 am

    Nothing can completely eliminate blowouts. Even when the big boys play they’ll still happen. Remember when a formidable Kapolei team played Kahuku last year?

  14. Hyn August 11, 2017 2:07 am

    All the people running the show should look at what’s happening. Look at how much teams are forfeiting this year. They need to do something or else they will ruin high school football in Hawaii. We are definitely going backwards.

  15. Matuu Pulotu August 11, 2017 9:08 am

    The HHSAA needs to seriously consider adding 7 or 8 man football to the state where not only outer island schools (Molokai and Lanai had teams a couple of years ago) but also Oahu schools who can’t field a 11 man team roster play in a competitive league. Have their own state championship. Then have 2 Divisions among the 11 man football teams ( go back to geographical boundaries East/West/Central/Honolulu) with less conference games allowing more cross conference/league or out of state games.
    They could possibly even allow GE (Geographic Exceptions for those who are at schools not fielding teams or who want to play in a 11 man team knowing they have a scholarship to go on to play in college.
    The main goal is for the opportunity to play football, learn life lessons through that experience, potentially earn a scholarship for higher education, all the benefits that come as a result of playing a sport through adolescence and boosting personal, family, school and community pride.
    So glad it is football season again. Go Big Red.

  16. TooMeke August 11, 2017 9:11 am

    How about change in leadership…


  17. Proud Dad August 11, 2017 10:37 am

    The powers that be has to figure out a way that, however a team did last year doesnt equate into how they will be this year. For example…nanakuli did awesome in 2014 and 2015, perhaps going as far to say mediocre division 1 capable. Then losing huge talent to graduation after 2015 but qualifying them to enter division1 status in 2016 and now 2017. A move that proved the system is not only broken but has surely crippled teams today, from having teams forfeit games because either they dont want to risk injury or loss of players for the rest of the season to just not having the minimum allowed players ready to go. It also hurts the other team because now they lose game and live play time and reps. Going full throttle to only have to throttle down because you are up 35-0 in the 1st qtr and you dont want to make national news because the score ended at 90-0 and you had the 4th string in since the 2nd qtr. Well just saying hopefully they come up with a better and more fair plan than what is in place. Aloha

  18. Education First August 11, 2017 12:18 pm

    Unfortunately football is dying. Look at the participation numbers for golf, it’s really soaring. Punahou JV Football suited up less than 30 players last week. That is low. Too much risk. Not enough reward for middle and upper class families that do not need an athletic scholarship to send their kids to college. Brain injuries really seem to scare away people and it should.

    This is interesting discussion right now. But don’t be surprised if the discussion on here in 5 years is combining ILH and OIA teams since there might be only 10-15 left on the entire island.

  19. Lowtone123 August 11, 2017 12:26 pm

    I agree with Matuu teams low in numbers can still field a competitive team and play for a division/state title. The top teams in the OIA have proven they can play with the best in the ILH in all sports. What it comes down to is money and the number of participants each league can have in the state tournaments. I say the OIA and ILH need to merge and split the monies based on the number of member schools who participate. Let the best teams play for the state titles, regardless of league.

  20. phILHarmonic August 11, 2017 12:51 pm

    How are the big boy leagues doing? are the #s up? just curious.

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