It’s all “hush, hush,” one Hawaii high school football coach said.
Some others have said, “Why would anyone vote against this?”
And then there’s those who say, “The OIA will never vote for it.”
First, the hush, hush part.
Every Oahu football head coach was contacted via email for any input they wanted to give on their feelings about the proposed OIA-ILH football alliance that will, in part, create a “power” conference of the top teams on Oahu.
Only one responded via email and only one, in a subsequent telephone conversation, so far has wanted to talk about it.
So, yes indeed, it’s a hush, hush situation. One athletic director said they’ve been told to keep quiet.
And it’s understandable. This is a hot-button issue. It’s been a divisive issue. That’s the beauty of the new proposal in a way, though. It strives hard to be a uniting thing.
The architects of the proposal, according to sources — former Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya, Oahu Interscholastic Association executive director Ray Fujino, Interscholastic League of Honolulu executive director Blane Gaison and his assistant, Georges Gilbert — have steadfastly avoided media inquiries.
Actually, Gaison did speak with two Honolulu Star-Advertiser writers in the days before Tuesday’s ILH vote on the proposal, but all he could offer was that there were talks going on.
So, we at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World used our pseudo-dental equipment to extract the tooth (truth) that the ILH heads of school voted unanimously to approve the proposal. Thank goodness for those trusted sources who are close to the situation. The vote went down at ‘Iolani, but we still don’t know who voted and if the vote was by all ILH schools or just a few heads of school belonging to an executive board. The guess here is that every ILH school, regardless of whether it fields a football team or not, had one vote each. Some day, we may find out.
This is, after all, the land of agents and double agents, or so it seems.
Well, it’s taken this long to get to the point of this story, and that is that we actually do have some input from those two coaches, so here goes. Names withheld to protect the innocent:
Head coach with strong ties to both OIA and ILH: The OIA can’t afford to not vote it in. They would be giving up $35,000 per school for three years … that’s the transportation budget right there. We as a state need it and the OIA needs it. Plus, with the more competitive games, there will be more people in the stands and that means more gate money.”
ILH head coach: “I love this plan except for how they are going to figure out postseason bids. For Open division, the ILH could make out like bandits, getting possibly all three teams in the postseason. But for the D-I and D-II ILH teams, they could lose out. For example, if the ILH teams end up in first or second place in the regular season and don’t lose to any OIA teams, only one ILH team will be able to go to the state tournament. That’s the only real downside to this proposal. Otherwise, I’m all for it. But can’t wait to see what our schedule will look like (if it passes).”
It is not known at this time when the proposal will move on to an OIA vote.
Here is a breakdown of the key aspects of the proposal that would go into effect for the 2016 season:
>> Open division regular season: 7 OIA teams, 3 ILH teams, 9 games.
>> Open division state tournament: top 6 teams in regular season.
>> Division I regular season: 8 OIA teams, 2 ILH teams, 9 games.
>> Division I state tournament: 3 OIA teams, 1 ILH team, 1 BIIF team, 1 MIL team.
>> Division II regular season: 7 OIA teams, 2 ILH teams, 8 games.
>> Division II state tournament: 2 OIA teams, 1 ILH team, 1 BIIF team, 1 MIL team, 1 KIF team.
>> Subsidy to OIA schools from business community: $3 million ($1 million per year for three years of the OIA-ILH alliance pilot project), which breaks down to $35,000 per OIA football-playing school per year for their athletic department budgets.
>> Junior varsity would be part of the alliance, but only in the Open division.
>> No 11th graders would be allowed to play in JV.
>> OIA or Neighbor Islands school players would not be allowed to transfer to an ILH school without sitting out two years.