Athletics Lineup and Season Changes

Recent HHSAA Decisions Result in Big Changes for Athletes and Facilities

Department: Athletics

By Tom Holden, Athletic Director

At the 2007 HHSAA (Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association) Athletic Directors’ Conference this past June, several new sports were approved for Divisions I and II state tournament format. The decision to add volleyball, baseball and soccer will have a positive effect on the larger schools in the ILH (Interscholastic League of Honolulu) with respect to tournament representation.

Currently, state tournament representation is based on a formula that favors leagues with a higher number of teams competing in a particular sport in that division. With the addition of Division II to the state tournament format, many schools in the neighbor island leagues have elected to play in Division II. This reduces the number of teams that compete in Division I for those leagues, which, by formula, increases the number of state tournament berths for the larger schools. The increase of ILH Division I state tournament berths in the added sports are indicated below:

Sport 2006-2007
Berths
2007-2008
Berths
Boys Volleyball 2 3
Girls Volleyball 2 3
Baseball 1 3
Girls Soccer 1 2
Girls Soccer 1* 2*

*Playoff for an extra spot with the BIIF (Big Island Interscholastic Federation)

The HHSAA Executive Board also voted to change Hawai‘i’s current alignment of sports seasons to address concerns raised in a Michigan case that challenged the non-traditional season scheduling of girls sports. This past April, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower-court ruling in Communities of Equity vs. Michigan High School Athletic Association that, under Title IX, girls sports needed to be scheduled within the same seasons and timeframes as boys sports.

The following changes are now in effect for Hawai‘i high school sports:

Sport 2006 - 2007
Season
2007 - 2008
Season
Boys Volleyball Fall Spring
Softball Winter Spring
Girls Basketball Spring Winter
Girls Int./JV Soccer Fall Winter

The change of seasons will have both good and bad implications for Punahou’s athletes and facilities. The good news for boys is that they can now play football and volleyball; the bad news is that they may have to choose between playing volleyball or baseball. For girls, the good news is that they can now play basketball and softball; the bad news is that they will have to choose between basketball or soccer.

The shift in seasons will also place an added strain on school gymnasiums and fields. With the move of girls basketball to winter, the number of teams using the gyms will double from six to twelve teams which means the corresponding number of athletes utilizing these spaces during the winter season will rise from 90 to 180.

Field space will also be a concern for our soccer teams. Moving the JV and Intermediate girls soccer teams to the winter season increases the number of teams using the fields from five to nine and the number of athletes from 100 to 180.

The ILH began to look at adjustments that would help the larger schools deal with the overcrowding during practice and in the scheduling of games. For Punahou, this has meant:

  • Reducing the number of games the Intermediate and JV teams will play.
  • Large-school Division II boys and girls basketball teams will play together in a league rather than with the small-school Division II teams as in the past (this reduces the number of games in a season).
  • Non-Punahou games will not be scheduled during the week to allow for team practice.
  • Later start times for weekday games to also accommodate team practice. (Many games will start at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. as opposed to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.)

The most difficult adjustment, however, may center on the move of softball from winter to spring. Currently, we have only one baseball and one softball field on Chamberlain Field. With the increase of teams from four to eight, and the number of athletes in the spring going from 80 to 160, the need for a new venue is clear. We are currently looking at the reconfiguration of Rice (Middle) Field as a possible solution.

While changes to our athletics lineup and seasons have posed logistical and other challenges, we plan to look optimistically at all of our options while maintaining the number of Punahou athletic teams. We ask for your goodwill as the athletics department pilots many of these changes during the 2007-2008 school year and devises solutions.

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