Yap: No non-league football games, but ADs following ‘traditional schedule’

The Maui Interscholastic League will not play non-league football games in the 2021 season outside of state tournament competition, MIL president Jamie Yap said Tuesday.

“Football is considered high risk in the fall, so the only competition will be interleague for us,” Yap said. “There could be (intraleague) scrimmages in the preseason that won’t count for the league championship.”

MIL athletic directors met for the second day in a row Tuesday to hammer out schedules for what will be the league’s first official season since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020.

Yap said the schedules are completed but tentative. The league is waiting for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association to release the state schedules, both for sports start dates and state tournaments.

Yap, the Maui High School principal and MIL member of the state executive board, has acted as the league spokesman throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, but was filled in on it by MIL ADs in attendance.

“They met today and they agreed on sharing the fall schedule after the HHSAA puts out its schedule, the start of practice and the (state) tournaments,” Yap said, adding that he expects the state association announcement to come on either Friday or Monday. “I know there’s a schedule in place right now, so it’s done, they have it.”

Yap added that the MIL worked on HHSAA schedules they have seen and worked backwards from the state tournaments, which have been tentatively set but also not yet released.

“Based on my understanding with the ADs, we’re following a traditional schedule,” Yap said. “It feels like pins and needles, everybody’s just waiting on the HHSAA to release their schedule and I think they’re waiting on getting the (state Department of Health) approval and consideration of the protocols.”

In other business carried out by the MIL ADs on Tuesday, Baldwin athletic director Wade Hondo was voted in as president of the group, taking over for Molokai AD Lee DeRouin, whose term expired.

“We want to congratulate (Hondo) — he just started his position with this meeting,” Yap said.

Yap added that the winter and spring schedules have also been hammered out on a tentative basis, but “they are not going to post winter and spring at this time because there’s other issues with venues that haven’t been acquired yet and there’s issues that revolve around traveling and preseason tournaments, which could change when those sports come into play where we may be in a better position to travel and a better position to hold preseason tournaments.”

With different venues used by the MIL — from DOE schools, private schools and Maui County — the question of how many fans might be allowed into games is still to be determined.

“We all want to follow the DOH so the numbers should be the same,” Yap said. “We’re waiting for guidance and protocols. … I think the overarching body moving forward will be the DOH.”

Yap added that he is encouraged by COVID vaccination rates in the state. Gov. David Ige has said that 70 percent is the goal to reduce restrictions. The latest number released by the state on Monday is that 55 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.

“When they’re saying 55 percent, that’s two doses,” Yap said. “I think what they’re saying is there’s 61 percent with at least the first dose. So if they put the first dose numbers in there, we’re above 60 percent already. We’ve got to listen to the news, get the updates. Yes, I’m encouraged and the closer we get to 70 (percent) the better off we’re going to be.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com


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