Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 12, 2021
HHSAA Member Leagues Work On Tentative 2020-21 Athletic Schedule

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association and its member leagues met on Zoom on Monday to discuss how the 2020-21 athletic season can still be held despite the interruptions from the COVID-19 health crisis.

They will continue to discuss plans for a workable athletic year, and the next meeting is next Monday.

Nothing discussed today is set in stone.

“All leagues feel like we should keep the (three) seasons intact and not be moving sports around (to other seasons),” Natalie Iwamoto of the HHSAA said Monday afternoon. One possibility is for the fall season (football, girls volleyball, etc.) to start sometime in September, according to Iwamoto, who added that a plan in which all three seasons are shortened from 14 to 10, 11 or 12 weeks is also being discussed. According to Iwamoto, the leagues will meet on their own to discuss the various options this week before reporting back to the HHSAA on Monday.

Another idea being floated, she said, is to set aside time in April and May (which would be open due to the shorter seasons) for sports that, for whatever reason, weren’t able to get things going during their respective seasons.

“If we have a 10-week calendar, that would give enough time for a fourth season if that is needed,” Iwamoto said.

The biggest sport, football, which usually starts in mid-July with heat protocol, is not going to start until at least September, no matter what. “The earliest we can start the fall season is September and that is all dependent on the state and county leadership and what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do,” Iwamoto said. According to several sources who did not want to be identified, there has been talk that the Department of Education may reduce the high school athletics budget, and if that happens, there could be cuts in transportation, events, equipment or even elimination of some sports.

In short, there are a lot of things contingent on other things.

“We are discussing contingency plans and protocols like if we were have to postpone a season or (set a deadline) on when we would have to make a decision to cancel a season,” Iwamoto said. “We’re making really good progress. Everybody understands that we need to work together. It’s been very good so far.”

Pearl City's Alii Gaspar ran the ball during an OIA football game against Kalaheo last season. (Photo courtesy of Elijah Abramo).

Modifications To Football State Tournament Expected

Iwamoto believes that modifications to some state tournaments will happen, including football.

“The way things are going, it doesn’t look like the football state tournament will stay as is,” she said. “And preseason competition (in all sports) might be canceled.” A few weeks ago, the HHSAA was concerned that a delay in the annual reconditioning of football helmets (a job done elsewhere in the world) might hold up any proposed football start date. That, however, doesn’t appear to be a problem now.

“We expect the helmets to be returned to us by the end of summer, August,” Iwamoto said.

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