The 2019 BIIF football season was marked by blowouts. The 2020 fall campaign will be one big blackout.
Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Chris Chun urged Oahu residents to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Wednesday after the governing body’s executive board postponed football until 2021. Girls volleyball, cross-country and cheerleading also were pushed back until January.
BIIF executive director Lyle Crozier said his league voted with the majority, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of it trying to compete separately from the HHSAA at some point this school year if the spread of the virus continues to vary among the islands.
“We’ve talked about a lot of proposals, but certainly nothing official,” said Crozier, who is one of three BIIF members on the HHSAA executive board along with Hawaii Prep athletic director Stephen Perry and Waiakea AD Tommy Correa.
The 2020 fall high sports calender: air riflery and bowling. Those two sports are deemed lower risk, although Crozier said they would still need to follow sets of guidelines to be able to compete.
“We already did this in the spring and the last thing we wanted to do was carry it over to the fall,” Chun said. “I’m just hopeful that we as a state, and especially Oahu, can get back to where we were a couple of weeks ago (with he virus). We have to get to that point to save the winter and the spring. I’m still hopeful the fall sports can be played.”
The Department of Health reported 173 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, all on Oahu, bringing that island’s active count to 1,290. Hawaii County remained at 122 cases and seven active.
The decision comes two weeks after California, a high school football haven, made a similar move to postpone play. That state hopes to hold sectional playoffs in the spring – pending the spread of the virus. According to High School Football America, Hawaii is the 10th state to push back its season until 2021, while 28 states are starting the season later than scheduled.
The HHSAA said it decided against moving up low-risk sports, such as golf, on the calender “to avoid the possibility of missed class time when students and teachers are adjusting to new routines at the start of the new school year.”
The state’s public schools are slated to open Aug. 17.
“The big issue is we have to get these kids back to school,” Chun said. “If we can’t figure that out, extra-curricular activities are just a side note.”
Among the proposals that will be discussed, Crozier said, is one that moves up the start of winter sports for the first of three 11-week seasons. In effect, the 2020-21 Hawaii high school calender would consist of four quarters, starting with bowling and riflery.
“We’d move the winter (basketball, soccer, wrestling, paddling, swimming) sports up to the first week of November, start fall (football, volleyball, cross-country, cheerleading) in January, and the spring sports (baseball, softball, boys volleyball, water polo, tennis, golf, track and field judo) would start in March and it could end by late May.”
That plan, of course, would be depend on the state quelling the virus.
“I just implore the people on Oahu, especially, to do what they have to do, wear a mask, practice social distancing,” Chun said. “Take care of business so we can start playing again.”
Football and volleyball are higher-risk sports, while cross-country was deemed riskier by the HHSAA because of the manner of which it is run – often in packs – Crozier said.
“They talked about how individual races could be run like track, no risk, but as far as running a lot of kids in cross-country, you’d have to change the sport. I think they looked at bunch of kids in one place at a time.”
BIIF air riflery is traditionally held at one school as a meet, but social distancing measures likely will have shooters stay at their own venues to compete and than have scores shared.
“Even with that sport, we have a lot to figure out,” Crozier said. “We’re just hoping for the best and out first priority is safety.”