Spring girls hoops only played here
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday against the Michigan High School Athletic Association leaves Hawai'i as the only state that will not play its girls basketball season in the winter.
According to an Associated Press story, the court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that ruled the MHSAA's scheduling of girls basketball in the fall months discriminated against girls. It forces Michigan to move the girls season to winter, same as in 48 other states.
University of Hawai'i civil rights specialist Jill Nunokawa, an attorney who has been a leading advocate for moving the girls basketball season here from spring to winter since 1993, said the ruling "makes us the final dinosaur" and "will have a ripple effect" on the 50th state.
"At some point, I knew this (day) would come," said Nunokawa, who played at Kaiser and UH. "Now we're the last dragon to be slayed, and we're in the national scene."
Nunokawa said playing basketball in the spring robs girls of college scholarship opportunities, since the rest of the nation has finished its seasons just as Hawai'i schools begin playing. She said the girls also miss out on preseason tournaments against top Mainland competition.
"There's no 'Iolani Classic for the girls," Nunokawa said, referring to the nationally renowned boys tournament. "Our girls don't get to compete against the top teams."
Lack of adequate gym space has been cited as a reason for splitting the boys and girls seasons here, but Nunokawa said that problem could be solved by moving JV seasons to the spring.
In 2000, a survey of girls and coaches participating in the state tournament found over 84 percent favored playing in the spring.
Moving the season from spring to winter would require a majority vote at the Hawai'i Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association Conference in June.
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.