OIA and ILH interleague football will continue with a full slate of games to be scheduled for the 2020 season, according to OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka.
And two schools — Leilehua and Roosevelt — are moving up a division.
“It’s a go,” Tanaka said Thursday morning.
The renewal of the highly popular, fan-friendly two-year pilot program was not a given, and multiple sources over the past few months told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that it was possible OIA principals would reject it.
According to Tanaka, who will be working to set the schedule in the coming weeks, the OIA-ILH regular-season format will be revisited next year.
Leielhua, which played in Division I for the last two years, will test its mettle against the big boys in the Open Division. Roosevelt, the OIA D-II runner-up in 2019 and that division’s champion in 2018, will compete in D-I.
“We made the (Leilehua and Roosevelt) decision based on varsity and JV won-lost records for the last two years,” Tanaka said. “We’re in the process of finalizing the system of how we make those changes in the future, but it will be done every year. We don’t want teams to feel like they’re stuck in a division.”
For many years, the OIA waited two years before moving teams up or down.
The OIA-ILH alliance was forged starting in the ’18 season, and has been successful in many areas. It has helped the seven-team ILH fill out a more robust schedule, given the OIA more balanced competition and thereby helping to ensure fewer lopsided results as well as a safer playing field with similar-caliber teams facing each other, and brought in more money at the gate due to an uptick in frequency of marquee matchups.
In other words, Tanaka’s statement from one year ago, after one year of the interleague schedule, still applies, “We had great games, back and forth games. It brought competitive games back to the table.”
Another part of the deal that has worked well is the autonomy the leagues continue to have. Both still crown a champion and have their own system for qualifying for the state tournament.
Tanaka did not disclose the financial aspects of the continuance of the two leagues’ regular-season scheduling agreement, which was a major incentive for the public school league to join forces with the private-school ILH in the original deal. In each of the two pilot years, all football-playing public high school athletic departments in the state were slated to share $1 million. In addition, OIA schools received all profits after expenses for any home games against ILH teams and about 75 percent from OIA vs. ILH games at ILH stadiums or neutral fields such as Aloha Stadium.
About Leilehua’s upgrade in statius, Leilehua coach Mark Kurisu texted, “We did our part and earned the chance to move up.”
OIA-ILH football regular-season alignment
>> Campbell (OIA)
>> Farrington (OIA)
>> Kahuku (OIA)
>> Kamehameha (ILH)
>> Kapolei (OIA)
>> Leilehua (OIA)
>> Mililani (OIA)
>> Punahou (ILH)
>> Saint Louis (ILH)
>> Waianae (OIA)
>> Aiea (OIA)
>> Castle (OIA)
>> Damien (ILH)
>> ‘Iolani (ILH)
>> Kailua (OIA)
>> Moanalua (OIA)
>> Radford (OIA)
>> Roosevelt (OIA)
>> Waipahu (OIA)
>> Kaimuki (OIA)
>> Kaiser (OIA)
>> Kalaheo (OIA)
>> Kalani (OIA)
>> McKinley (OIA)
>> Nanakuli (OIA)
>> Pac-Five (ILH)
>> Pearl City (OIA)
>> Waialua (OIA)