ADs approve proposed cuts
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Hawai'i Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association yesterday approved proposals to reduce state tournament participation in most sports for the coming school year.
The recommendations will go to the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association executive board on Tuesday for final approval.
Yesterday at Ala Moana Hotel, the HIADA general assembly voted to reduce state tournament participation by 20 percent in golf, wrestling, track and field, cross country, tennis, judo, bowling, paddling and air riflery. Swimming entries would be cut by 33 percent, from 24 per event to 16.
A proposal to limit team state tournaments to 33 percent of the total statewide participation also was approved, likely shrinking Division II baseball, softball and soccer state tournament fields from 12 teams each to eight.
Division I baseball, basketball and volleyball state tournaments likely would remain at 12 teams under the formula.
The O'ahu Interscholastic Association — citing effects from the Department of Education's mandated 50 percent budget cut for athletic supplies, equipment and transportation — submitted most of the proposals related to reduced state tournament participation.
OIA executive director Dwight Toyama addressed HIADA's 90-plus member schools prior to yesterday's vote, informing them of an additional 5 percent cut proposed at Friday's Board of Education meeting.
"It's important for people to know that we're not cutting (state tournament participation) permanently," Toyama told The Advertiser after the conference adjourned. "We're just suspending it for a while. When the funding comes back, we'll be the first ones to try and increase participation again."
The OIA, made up of 29 public schools, is the only one of the state's five leagues that subsidizes state tournament travel for its members. Some Neighbor Island administrators questioned whether the state tournament cuts would save their public schools money, since unlike the OIA, they rely on private fund-raising to pay for state tournament travel.
Big Island Interscholastic Federation executive director Lyle Crozier said Thursday night that losing state berths would disappoint many BIIF athletes whose parents are willing to raise the money to pay for the travel expenses.
"They look forward to coming to O'ahu and playing in venues like the Stan Sheriff Center, Blaisdell Arena," Crozier said. "Especially in Division II, a lot of them don't travel in the preseason, so their only chance to do it is by qualifying for states."
But Toyama said even fund-raising will become more difficult for everybody, especially smaller schools in remote, rural areas. He said the economic situation could get much worse with the pending furloughs and 13.8 percent pay cuts expected to hit tens of thousands of state workers.
"It's going to have a trickle-down effect," Toyama said. "Even in a bigger community like Waipahu, they cannot fund-raise enough. Different communities have a harder time raising money."
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu, made up of 26 private schools, appeared sympathetic to the OIA's budget woes.
"We're not directly affected (by the DOE cuts), but we felt we had to support (the OIA)," said ILH executive director Don Botelho. "We want to make sure athletics continues throughout the state."
Said Toyama: "We'll get through this, but the key is all leagues need to work together."
HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya deferred comment on the reductions until Tuesday's executive board meeting.
The OIA submitted proposals which would cut all team state tournament fields from 12 teams each to eight, and reduce state tournament participation by 30 percent in all individual sports. But Toyama said those proposals were "negotiable," and the general assembly ended up voting on a 20 percent cut for most individual sports.
For the team sports, the group approved a proposal by the BIIF to allow 33 percent of the teams competing statewide in each division to advance to a state tournament. Using this past year's numbers, such a proposal would reduce the state tournament fields in girls soccer, Division II baseball, DII boys soccer and DII softball from 12 teams to eight.
State tournament fields for boys and girls basketball, volleyball, DI baseball and DI boys soccer would remain at 12 teams.
Most reduction-related proposals passed convincingly. The closest vote came in regard to cutting swimming by 33 percent. An amendment proposing a 20 percent reduction was defeated.
But the original motion passed only with 44 in favor, 43 against and three abstentions.
A motion to expand the football state tournaments from six teams each to eight failed.