HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has postponed most fall-season prep sports, including high school football, until at least January, the organization said Wednesday.
The decision, approved by a majority vote of the HHSAA’s executive board, applies to all sports which the association designates as moderate- and high-risk, including cheerleading, cross country, football and girls volleyball.
“This decision has kind of been on the horizon for the last couple of weeks.” HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun told Hawaii News Now. “I think it definitely makes it easier with the way the trend is going — especially on Oahu — for this decision to be made, it’s more straightforward for us, but It’s something that we kind of knew as a state and meeting with the DOH that the high risk and moderate risk sports wouldn’t be able to be played in the fall anyway.”
Air riflery and bowling, which the HHSAA classifies as low-risk sports, will be allowed to proceed in the fall as scheduled ― at least for now.
Although this decision was finalized while the state is seeing record-high numbers in coronavirus cases, Chun says that even when the case count was lower, it was still unlikely that sports would be played in the fall.
“Even when we were doing good as a state.” Chun said. “We probably needed to be in somewhere between phase two or closer to phase three for us to start thinking about playing those sports.”
Chun says that a revised schedule is being worked on, in collaboration with the 5 member leagues across the islands.
“The reason why we can’t announce a calendar is because we are still trying to work on the calendar with all the five leagues.” Chun said. “Everyone has been great so far in trying to stay on the same page.”
Chun is also personally affected by today’s announcement — being a father of a high school senior.
“I’m a parent of a high school senior and he has a lot of friends.” Chun said. “So I personally know a lot of kids that play baseball and football in his senior class, so this hurts a lot, I know it impacts them just having a delay or postponement, so having a cancellation would be devastating, so I don’t ever want it to get to that point.”
Chun remains optimistic that high school sports can be played in the islands this school year, if the state can control the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
“Hopefully we can do what we need to do and get back there so kids can be in school and kids can play after school.” Chun said.
The organization says it will reassess the situation near the end of the first quarter of the state’s public school calendar.
This story will be updated.