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HHSAA football: OIA proposes state format alternative

Updated: 
June 19, 2017 - 12:05am

June 18—A week after the Oahu Interscholastic Association threw a wrench into the three-tiered state high school football tournament format by saying it would abandon the top tier, a counterproposal for an alternative three-division field is making the rounds, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser learned Saturday.

Details of the counterproposal were received via email from a person close to the situation speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

According to one source, it was presented Friday afternoon by HHSAA executive director Chris Chun to principals and athletic directors at an OIA meeting at the league’s office.

In the information received by the Star-Advertiser — in the form of a forwarded email originally sent by Interscholastic League of Honolulu executive director Georges Gilbert to ILH athletic directors and other league officials — it states that the counterproposal was originated by the OIA office and presented to the ILH office for perusal before it is brought to the HHSAA football committee.

Wherever it originated, the counterproposal calls for three OIA teams and one ILH team in a four-team, top-tier division (the terms Open, D-I and D-II were not used).

The middle tier would be drastically different than the one currently in use. It would consist of one ILH team, two from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation and one from the Maui Interscholastic League instead of three from the OIA and one each from the ILH, BIIF and MIL.

The lowest division shows no changes between the current proposal and the counterproposal — two teams from the OIA, and one each from the ILH, MIL, BIIF and Kauai Interscholastic Federation.

The HHSAA’s Chun and OIA football coordinator Harold Tanaka declined to comment Saturday morning. Calls to OIA executive director Ray Fujino and the ILH’s Gilbert were not returned.

According to ILH sources, the private-school league decided this offseason to declare its Big Three — Saint Louis, Punahou and Kamehameha — for the top tier, Damien and St. Francis in the middle, and ‘Iolani and Pac-Five in the lower division.

Since the OIA already is divided into Divisions I and II, the most likely scenario is that all 14 of its D-I teams would fight for the three top-tier spots at the state level and that all eight of its D-II teams would compete for the two berths in the lowest division.

If the HHSAA football committee passes the counterproposal before the season starts, it would not need further ratification from the HHSAA executive board to go into effect.

If the newly proposed format does not get committee approval, the current Open, D-I and D-II format would still be in play, though the OIA announced on June 9 that it would declare its teams for D-I and D-II only.

One source who is part of the OIA in an official capacity and who spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday said the counterproposal by Chun at the league’s Friday meeting was greeted lukewarmly and did not draw much discussion.

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