High school football: ADs vote to continue 3-tier system

Hawaii’s high school athletic directors voted to continue the three-tiered HHSAA football tournament this year, but with a twist.

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Hawaii’s high school athletic directors voted to continue the three-tiered HHSAA football tournament this year, but with a twist.

The eight-team Division I tournament – which allowed BIIF runner-up Waiakea to join league champion Hilo High at states last season – was trimmed to six, likely keeping the BIIF from a second state spot in DI and two overall.

“We’ll probably only get one (in D-I),” BIIF executive secretary Lyle Crozier said

Open and DII remain six-team tournaments, and Crozier said a BIIF proposal to make the Division II tournament an eight-team event was voted down Thursday at the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

He said the OIA was the only one of the state’s five leagues to vote against keeping a three-tier system, which debuted as a pilot program last season.

Prior to last year, there were only two divisions – DI and DII.

The five leagues (the ILH, MIL and KIF are the other three) must declare their teams for one of the three divisions before Sept. 1, but Crozier suggested BIIF schools could make their intentions known as early as Friday.

“We have an ADs meeting tomorrow,” Crozier said, “so we might know by then.”

Per BIIF rule, schools with enrollments of more than 950 students – such as Hilo, Waiakea and Kealakehe – can not participate in Division II.

In the first year of the three-tier football system, all eight BIIF schools that fielded 11-man teams stayed the course with Hilo, Waiakea, Kealakehe and Keaau remaining in D-I and Konawaena, Kamehameha, Honokaa and Hawaii Prep staying in D-II.

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After getting the green light by HIADA, the continuation of the three-tiered state tournament must is still dependent on being ratified by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board Friday. The HHSAA board can give it a stamp of approval, reject it or make more changes.

Tribune News Service contributed to this report.