HHSAA cracks down on offseason prep sports workouts during pandemic

HHSAA cracks down on offseason prep sports workouts during pandemic
RJ Javar will lead OIA Division I Champions Moanalua (10-1) against ILH Division I Champions Iolani (9-2) Saturday at Moanalua. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced Monday that all high school athletic programs in Hawaii had entered a ‘no-contact period’ through August 18 that was to be effective immediately.

The decision means that high school coaches and student-athletes cannot engage in instructional or developmental sport specific activities until at least August 18, including offseason conditioning workouts that were not sport-specific.

Coaches who are found to be breaking these rules and holding face-to-face athletic activities could be suspended for the entire season. The news rules were voted upon by the HHSAA’s executive board.

The decision comes as some schools across the state have been holding unsanctioned workouts in public parks and at other facilities during the pandemic, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Once the no-contact period is finished on August 19, it will be up to the individual member leagues to determine the different workout restrictions.

Multiple football coaches have told Hawaii News Now that they would need at least a month to adequately prepare their student-athletes before they could safely compete in games, and some coaches said they would feel more comfortable with six weeks to do so.

In a statement, the executive director of the HHSAA, Chris Chun said that the move was made to ensure the health and safety of their coaches and players ― but also to give them enough time to be ready to play.

“This is a significant change to our start date calendar as summer activities have been determined by each individual school,” Chun said. “However, during this time, our executive board felt that this change was necessary to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes. This will still allow adequate time for conditioning as our first contests for most fall sports are not slated to begin until at least mid-September.”

Coaches and players at ‘Iolani were allowed to return to campus for conditioning because school health officials deemed the workouts a low risk for exposure. Once the school was notified of the positive test, all in-person workouts were suspended and they advised all those in contact with the coach to self-isolate.

During a normal off-season, the HHSAA has no jurisdiction over the ILH, but today’s decision overrides that rule, ensuring no member league school have any face-to-face workouts.

The decision by the HHSAA is not as drastic as the one made by the California Interscholastic Federation on Monday, when they announced that all of their fall sports, including football, would be pushed back until at least December.

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