Think About It: Size Matters - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 28, 2013

Think About It: Size Matters

The time has come to classify high school athletic teams in Hawaii by size, like it's done in just about every other state. The idea of having divisions is a great concept and it has been well-received for the most part, but the thought that big schools opt to play in a lower division with tiny schools simply does not make sense. The mechanism on how to split schools is the tricky part, and no solution will satisfy everyone. But having football teams forfeit out of safety concern doesn't help teams, school morale, conferences, or alumni. Safety is paramount here, but setting the system up correctly or at least better is a first step. And there will always be inequities between public and private schools, so size has to be the determining factor.

Here's a proposal: any school with more than 1,000 students must play Division I sports only. Any school with fewer than 1,000 students is placed in Division II but it may opt, with plenty of notice for schedulers and interested participants, to play up and join Division I in agreed-upon sports. Big schools that decide they simply can't be competitive in Division I due to money issues or lack of participants can then opt out of playing that sport. And if there's enough interest, and fields or courts are available, Division II might even be an option in some sports for the smallest schools.

The goal should be to encourage competitive participation, to teach kids about being responsible and accountable, to play games where everyone feels welcome and relatively safe to put a team out there week after week. The goal should be to keep huge schools from dropping to a lower division. Figure out the size parameters for each division, maybe the Div. I number is 900, and then stick to it. Other states with public and private schools and travel issues have figured it out, and we can, too. This won't be easy change, but it is change whose time has come. Think about it…  

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