(6:55 p.m. Adds comments from Kaimuki football coach David Tautofi.)
(7:45 p.m. Adds comments from Kahuku girls volleyball coach Tuli Peters Tevaga.)
(8:15 p.m. Adds comments from Moanalua girls volleyball coach Alan Cabanting.)
A press release dated Jan. 5 — Tuesday — has included football along with fall and winter sports cancelled by the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Coaches were informed by administrators about the cancellation of fall and winter sports, but football and girls volleyball had been postponed until spring season, or “Season 2.” On Saturday, shortly after the Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced the cancellation of all winter sports state championships (scheduled for March), OIA winter sports coaches were informed about the cancellation of their seasons.
“It affects the seniors a lot. That’s a tough thing for them,” Moanalua football coach Vince Nihipali said. “As a coach, all you can do is have some kind of contingency plan, what can you do to help these kids with recruiting and contacts? That’s all we can do. If it’s cancelled and we can’t get it reversed, there’s nothing literally we can do. Numbers seem to be rising, so it’s tricky.”
COVID-19 case numbers spiked over the weekend in Hawaii.
Nihipali believes the announcement should have been kept in house, but the information had shown up online on Monday, he said.
“It looks like there’s a date on (the press release) and it was posted prior to the date. I’ve seen stuff on it (online). The impact just in general is big, yeah. We’ll have to see what the superintendent will allow when sports return. Will we be allowed to condition the kids. Who knows, maybe the superintendent will tell us when we can get back and work with the kids in some capacity,” Nihipali said. “Whatever COVID protocols need to be done, if we’re allowed to do that, that’ll be a bonus. Hopefully, a spring season and something to look forward to.”
Kaimuki football coach David Tautofi looks at the example demonstrated across the nation and wonders aloud why Hawaii isn’t willing to test the waters.
“I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed by it. I expected us to do something, understanding the importance of this to these kids. Especially the ones whose lives depend on it and how much sports influences their well-being in the classroom,” Tautofi said. “We have numbers about how many kids are failing since we went to (virtual learning), and I think those numbers aren’t even close.”
Tautofi will talk with his players on Tuesday, if not Monday night.
“I don’t even know what to say to them. I can only pray about this and seek wisdom to somehow use this as another life lesson and give these kids a way to work against adversity. It’s a heartbreak. Koby Moananau is one of the top 10 players in the state and he still hasn’t been offered, and he won’t have his senior season. A lot of kids like him might not get their opportunity. It comes down to priorities.”
Kahuku girls volleyball coach Tuli Peters Tevaga wonders why there was a lack of communication.
“I was hoping that coaches could sit in on these meetings and share our concerns and vouch for our players. I feel like we’ve been following protocols and rules up until now. For me as a coach and especially my seniors, you’re just saying there’s absolutely no way that we could’ve worked something out for them to play, even if it meant empty gyms, testing right before games or anything like that. We weren’t involved in the conversation,” she said.
Peters Tevaga hasn’t had a chance to talk with her team yet.
“We just don’t know how to address our girls. We feel for them. It’s definitely heartbreaking for us, not just as a coaching staff and a program,” she added.
The limitations on coaches in the OIA regarding communication and contact with players, Peters Tevaga noted, was for naught.
“You can’t have contact with the players, no workouts, but you can send them videos of encouragement, to stay positive. Any attempt to try and venture out, I was shut down. I felt like, come on, help us out. We are following everything to the tee, what you told us. The liability, we can’t even suggest a workout because if they get hurt, it’s ‘that’s a workout from my coach so it’s on them,’ so as coaches we can’t ever catch a break,” Peters Tevaga said.
Boys volleyball, a sport that was cancelled along with the rest of spring sports last year, will take the court. Peters Tevaga will try to get something going for her Lady Raiders.
“I know there are some ILH schools pushing for competitive play, still,” she said, referring to non-league, private-school “bubble” concept ideas. “I’m going to try to get some play for my girls. I’m pushing for a chance for our girls to compete. I do understand that the pandemic is real and protocols need to be put in place. It is a hard thing to discuss, I can’t even imagine (administrative) meetings, but the communication should have been better.”
Longtime Moanalua girls and boys volleyball coach Alan Cabanting was speechless for a moment.
“I’m hearing for the first time. I’m shocked right now. I think girls volleyball is one of those sports where you can isolate the teams. They’re playing across the net. You have the opportunity to have safety like they have on the mainland in Nebraska, California, where they’ve had the ability to play the volleyball season. They’ve shown that they’re able to do these seasons,” he said. “Literally, I’m just shocked.”
Cabanting has guided the girls volleyball squad to three OIA titles. Then the season was postponed last fall to the spring of 2021 due to the pandemic, only to be cancelled in early January — two months before spring.
“It’s disappointing, especially for the seniors who had really high hopes for this coming season. I think one of the other things that they weren’t thinking about is there’s so many things being taken away from the kids. If we’re really thinking about them, we can try to salvage this for them,” Cabanting said. “It (is saddening) because you have to talk about each sport and the safety, and certain sports are more able to do that, like air riflery. Yet, they just decided since we’re going to cancel one fall sport, we’ll cancel everything. If you’re really thinking about the kids, this senior group, so much is being taken away from them. I don’t understand why we can’t do it while still prioritizing safety.”
Cabanting noted that Moanalua has students on campus and protocols are being embraced.
“There were no actual new cases. We were sanitizing daily. The kids were wearing masks. The kids were six feet apart. We were able to make it work,” he said.
Bummer, there are a number of kids that will miss out on their opportunity to shine and get college opportunities. OIA should have been more transparent to kids earlier. They could have decided to go to elsewhere and play out their senior year.
No one has played anything sports related this year with school. So pull your kids (seniors) out now for the rest of the school year. Then re-enroll them. they should still have 1 year eligibility left if they only played 3 years. Am i correct or no. As long as they make age. Special times gotta try special things. Idk.
Give these student athlete seniors a chance. Hawaii’s seniors needs something, this is year 2 getting screwd if you do track or something like that.
As unfortunate as it may seem. The priorities always and should have been academics. If you rely on academics, there are tons of academics scholarships and merit based aid. Therefore you would not rely on sports to get into college. And getting an athletic scholarship would be moot. Sports are important, just like music, dance, stem, etc. But when you put all your eggs in one basket and something like this happens, there often isn’t a contingency plan in place.
Put all their eggs in one basket? That’s a huge assumption you are making. Many of these kids are good students as well.
sad about how everything is going but keep working hard !.. walk on into a college … make the team … you could get a scholarship the next season if you work hard !!! donʻt give up ! stay positive !!!
Gotta wait one year before the unveiling of the Kahuku Windmills..instead of the chop we can see the whirl?
This just makes me sick but expected. What they are doing to these kids because of the shutdown far exceeds any damage COVID would cause. They are basically in the 0.0% risk group.
Also, the argument that they can just get an academic scholarship is ridiculous. Those types of scholarships are very limited at public universities. And, those typically only cover tuition and don’t include room and board, fees, or books. These costs can easily double or triple the costs to attend. All those costs are covered in most football and basketball “full ride” scholarships. But the most important thing is that it helps them to get into very competitive universities that they otherwise may not be able to attend.
Leadership changes are needed.
Feel for the high school athletes losing out on their seasons. Unfortunately, we’re living in a pandemic where people are dying. Young people may be invincible, but can transmit the virus to their Kupuna and older relatives. Too late, once they are sick.
One door closed, another one opens. Find another way. Some $2 billion of scholarship and grants goes unclaimed every year because high school students and parents just didn’t bother to apply or didn’t know about it. Get to know about the FAFSA and other financial aid that often goes unclaimed. Need to have to a “can do” attitude instead of a “no can” one.
Good luck and stay safe!!
BTW, if you are a good student in the classroom, you greatly increase your chances of being awarded financial aid (Federal, State, private scholarship and grants). Work Study is also another way (neva mind about being ashamed or embarrassed!). Stay away from loans!! You can also walk on to play your sport at the same time (many have done so at UH). Not easy, but most worthwhile things in life are not.
T. Taylor, the eligibility clock of a high school student-athlete in Hawaii begins the day he or she begins ninth grade. Four years to play. I’ve never seen an exception, though many have appealed.
Football is cancelled. It sucks. Especially for the seniors, i could only imagine what they are going through right now. But at the end of the day, people got to look at it from another point of view, this virus is very unpredictable, many people have minor symptoms and others get it really bad and gets hospitalized and even die. Liability is a major factor in this decision making, all it takes is one kid to get it and who knows, he might get it bad, he might have little to no symptoms. You dont want to be that school or that coach that this situation happens and then we are talking major law suits . This all comes down to liability bottom line. As a parent , if my kid got it and something happened to my kid, somebody’s going down for it. Even now we got schools practicing illegally which blows my mind , whoever is running these practices, coaches, or whoever they better think twice, because again, liability. All it takes is one. I see on social media schools practicing all over the place, where are the AD’s and principals to stop this? I totally want football, even with this pandemic, i still think we can play football, i think the risks are very low as far as kids getting severely sick from this virus, but at the end of the day, like i said, all it takes is that one. Just saying.
Bruddah P. I know and you know best. But just maybe we should give expection to class of 21. Expecially the 3qtr sports guys. They got screwed 2 straight years. Jr & sr. Year that’s all.
@Hal, if they are good students, then not playing football shouldn’t be a huge deal for them in order to get into college. Like I said, there are so much academic and merit based aid. There is financial aid, student loans, scholarships for different ethnic groups, etc. I get it that playing a sport is fun. But to make such a blanket statement like “what about college scholarships…..” Um, there are numerous routes to take to get to college and many of them do not involve athletics.
There are PelGrants, financial aid, student loans, diversity scholarships, ethnic scholarships, merit based scholarships and so much more. Have you looked into the vast resources to obtain the proper financing for students who wish to go to college? Also, KCC, LCC, and WCC are very affordable. You can go that route and finish at UH. No shame in a UH degree, especially if you plan to live in Hawaii. Many people make a fine living on Oahu with a UH degree.
@Old School Dave
A college Coach suggested that every parent for the Class of 2021 in Hawaii should sue the NCAA for granting an extra year of eligibility for College players without any stipulations. Some of these players that are announcing that they’re coming back literally played a full season with this upcoming season being their 6th! Don’t believe me? check out D’Erik King going back to Miami. It’s very understandable if you played 6 games or less but 11 games? These kids that should be NFL bound but were advised to play another year to up their draft stock, hold onto the scholarships or at least a spot on the team that could be offered to your kid. Definitely not the players fault but the NCAA for granting the rule. This doesn’t just hurt those kids that haven’t shown and prove that they deserve a scholarship, this hurts the kids that have offers already as well. Imagine going to play D1 Football with the cream of the crop, the top dogs in the country and the last time you tackled someone was against Kohala your Junior year. There’s no substitute for playing football than playing football. God bless the Class of 2021 student athletes. Keep the faith and know that God has a plan.
@chloropicrin2. U going see da uwehi, ami and sly, right insai…yesssah…
@Na Alii Heights who said ” As a parent , if my kid got it and something happened to my kid, somebody’s going down for it.”
If you are the parent and it’s your kid, whom you let play or do whatever it is you let your kid do or your kid does on his own, why would you look to blame someone else and get litigious? It’s called personal responsibility…
U right on that part as far as me taking responsibility for letting my kid play . But why risk playing now when we got next season ahead of us? I understand especially for the seniors how heartbreaking this is , I could imagine what some of these kids are going through because some kids , that’s all they have is football and sports to keep them away from the bad home situations if they have one , getting into trouble etc…..but I think the safety for these young kids are more important than these ego busters out there . Yes all these other states are playing football , but look at the covid situation where they are playing football . It’s bad . Right now Hawaii is doing good with way lower numbers even to percentage wise from the population , let’s keep it that way and get through these next months and be ready for next season
The biggest problem is how does anyone know who has it and could spread it especially potentially bringing it home?
The difference with the Pro sports and college is they get tested a lot and it is paid for by the leagues and NCAA which cost a lot of money for High School sports who’s gonna pay for it the State which has no money ? Parents ? Probably not.
It all comes down to safety of all students we are in a crisis over 350,000 has died .
Who’s gonna take the responsibility if any student athletes is infected or a student athlete who has it or someone who they were in close contact someone who has it and doesn’t disclose it or worse someone dies from it there’s high probability of a lawsuit. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation as a Coach or Administrator.
Can everyone stop discounting this as a health concern a result of COVID. It’s not.
FYI: They didn’t cancel all sports.
OIA making arbitrary decisions, not based on risk. Bring back Football and Girls VB. No fans. But have spectrum cover them. Make them play any day of the week.
Scholarships: Yes, there are many academic scholarships available for students, but let’s not pretend like every child excells in school. We all have our own strengths and opportunities. I personally was okay at sports and okay in academics so I got ZERO scholarship awards. And yes, I applied for dozens so save the “they’re throwing out money, because they have ao much,” non-sense. Many of these athletes need the athletic scholarship opportunity to advance their education into something that fits them.
To play or Not to play: It should not have been a shock that the OIA opted out. They couldn’t have said anything earlier, because we didn’t know where we would be today with this back in September/October. Cancelling is the safest and consistent with what the state has been doing all these months. Reminder that these kids will not be in bubbles playing they’re sports so they still provide an increase risk of spreading the virus that much quicker. And testing isn’t all that affordable.
SAD for football and volleyball it’s young men and women on Oahu! Watch youth sports start up sooner than the high school sports with our new leader for Honolulu county.
Maybe you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the “sports” scholarship basket.
Sheez. That should be the name Kahuku Hammah’s.
And then you can still do the chop but its not a tomahawk, its a HAMMAH!!
Sueing the NCAA is absurd. There is no legal precedence. Only an ambulance chaser lawyer would take this kind of case. Most lawyers will ask for at least a $25,000 retainer and even then any lawyer with any sense wouldn’t take it. And what judge will side with parents filing this kind of civil case against the NCAA who are allowing players to play another year in a global pandemic when the NCAA is allowed to make the rules for their leagues.
Maybe, if you did better in sports and academics you would have had more options.
There is no shame in JC’s. And there are many of them out there.
Open it up for tourists to play swim at our beaches, run all over the islands without masks. But our islands own young men and women not allowed to play in their own homeland! No make sense!!!!
@Big Dog, we need tourism for our economy and to keep a lot of people from being unemployed.
While important, high school sports aren’t as essental as tourism.
If kids need exercise they can jog or swim to be active.
Last year my son’s baseball season got canceled right when it started. Now, my younger son won’t get to play his freshman season. Does it suck? Sure. But, they are learning that life isn’t always fair and they can use the time more effectively. Both have more time they can dedicate to school. Their grades have improved. The oldest has gotten a part time job with the extra time. Both have time to train and stay active.
We have friends who are unemployed. We know a few who have passed due to COVID. And the health of people are very important to our family.
If missing sports is the worst part of our daily lives, then we are pretty blessed. It’s about perspective. Do you want to be pessimistic or optimistic? We choose to be optimistic. No sports? Big deal.
We now have more time to spend with our family. Both my wife and I are employed. Everyone in our family is healthy (knock on wood). We are every fortunate and lucky.
I do not care about COVID stats. One death is one too many, especially if that person dying is someone you know and love.
Instead of complaining, how about using your guys’ energy and helping out people or families in need. Every little dollar or help can make a HUGE difference in people’s lives.