HHSAA postpones moderate- and high-risk fall sports, including football, until January 2021

  • Konawaena quarterback Kainoa “Boo” Jones looks to break a tackle against Kealakehe on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. High school football, along with all other fall sports except air riflery and bowling, has been postponed by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association until Jan. 2021. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today File Photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic has once again pushed back the sports calendar, this time affecting almost all of the fall high school sports in the state.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) executive board approved by majority vote Wednesday to postpone the start of “moderate- and high-risk” fall sports to Jan. 2021.

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The postponement affects cheerleading, cross country, football, and girls volleyball. That leaves only air riflery and bowling, which the HHSAA said “are classified as low-risk sports with the implementation of safety guidelines and are slated to proceed in the fall as scheduled.”

The HHSAA member leagues include the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF) as well as the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH), Kauai Interscholastic Federation (KIF), Maui Interscholastic League (MIL), and the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA).

Kealakehe athletic director Alan Vogt said the athletic directors from the schools in the BIIF had a video conference call Wednesday to discuss the move of fall sports to the spring.

Vogt said any idea discussed is strictly a “rough draft” and not set in stone.

“Tentatively, what we’re looking at is, with the winter season starting in November and ending in January, we’d try to fit the fall season in starting in January through March, and then spring sports after that through May,” Vogt said. “So that’s the rough draft we’re looking at. We’re looking down the road at what might be possible. Things change on a day-to-day basis, and it’s hard to keep things focused.”

A press release sent out by the HHSAA said the action to postpone fall sports by the board was based on public health and safety due to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases statewide.

“The HHSAA will continue to work with our member leagues in determining where to place these affected sports,” HHSAA executive director Chris Chun said. “If our state can flatten the curve, hopefully, these sports will be able to be played at some point in the school year.”

Last month, the HHSAA executive board by majority vote approved for the high school sport calendar to move into a “no-contact period” through Tuesday, Aug. 18, and included all fall sports. Now, only air riflery and bowling will take place this fall.

In April, the HHSAA had canceled all spring sports — baseball, boys volleyball, girls water polo, golf, judo, softball, tennis, and track and field — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Wednesday, the Department of Education has the start date for Hawaii schools set for Aug. 17.

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Vogt said Kealakehe is discussing bringing its air riflery program back for the fall, but that also is subject to change due to the uncertainty of the school year because of the virus.

“The DOE has to allow us to even practice,” Vogt said. “We can’t do anything until they give us the go-ahead.”

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