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HHSAA schedules for 2020-21 are near completion

With two important meetings in the next 10 days, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association is moving closer to announcing schedules for state tournaments and deadline dates for various extracurricular activities in the 2020-21 academic year.

The HHSAA scheduling committee is set to meet on Friday with the goal of advancing dates for sports to begin to the HHSAA executive committee for its meeting that will take place Nov. 5.

While some schedules have been drawn up by the state’s five leagues — several coaches have them in hand — HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun said nothing has yet been approved nor announced.

“Until we get approval from the powers that be, our potential schedule is just a draft,” Chun said in a text message to The Maui News. “I want to make sure our government leaders ok sports before anything is released.”

HHSAA officials are still waiting on protocols and guidelines for practices and competition from the state Department of Health and Department of Education.

Maui High School principal Jamie Yap, the Maui Interscholastic League voting member of the executive committee, backed up Chun’s assessment, adding that the goal is for practices for sports like air riflery and bowling to start in December, with competition beginning in January.

“Nothing is being sent out in writing,” Yap said. “We are just talking behind closed doors, so we get different messages coming out from different people. So, there’s a meeting with the ADs this week and next week we have an HHSAA executive board meeting. So, next week Thursday I may have a better answer for you, but up to now it’s all been talk — there’s nothing in writing. … Stuff gets tossed around and it gets interpreted in different ways.”

Yap said next Thursday’s executive board meeting is crucial.

“I’m hoping we can agree on some drop-dead dates and what sports will or will not compete and what to consider,” Yap said. “I think that will be part of our conversation. … Some tough decisions have got to be made between November and December. We have got to make up our minds, you know what I mean, on what’s going to happen.”

Yap added that even football is still a possibility for the current academic year.

“My opinion is the door is still open, the door is not closed,” Yap said. “What I mean to say correctly is the door is not closed — I don’t want to be the person to say ‘the door is closed.’ The door is still open and it still could happen — we’re just planning what-ifs.

“We’re going to consider if football does continue — here’s another piece of that story — what county venues will be available for any sports, let alone the (War Memorial) Stadium for football. Because let’s say we do play football, let’s say the answer is, ‘Yes, we should continue to play football,’ does that mean the county facility will be available? Because they have their own rules. So, all the football games may have to be played on state venues.”

Yap added that Sue Cooley Stadium on the campus of Lahainaluna High School, King Kekaulike Stadium and Kanaiaupuni Stadium on the campus of Kamehameha Maui are all possible sites for several sports, including soccer and track and field, if War Memorial Stadium is not a possible place for competition due to possible county restrictions over COVID-19 concerns.

“That’s some of the things we have got to consider in making this decision — going forward, what will be available to us?” Yap said. “Here’s something to consider — say a football game is played and there are no fans in the stands. If that is true, would Maui High host its own home games because we could play without fans on our (on-campus) home field if you think about it.”

There are no lights on the Sabers’ practice field.

“So we would have to play during the day,” Yap said. “There are so many different scenarios, yeah?”

Various proposals have the possibility of league-only competition to avoid travel due to coronavirus concerns.

With Lanai having seen its first reported COVID-19 cases within the last week — the number reached 65 on the island Friday, including 15 students at Lanai High & Elementary School — things may have to be even more specific in MIL sports.

“I think we’re going to have a better answer next week Thursday because if the state decides not to have any state championships then what happens?” Yap said. “So, the deciding factor (for each league) is going to be is there going to be a state championship for any of those sports?

“The last thing we’re waiting to hear is if the Department (of Education) will allow any other extra-curricular activities … things like band and drama.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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