HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Having no high school football in Hawaii has put hundreds of student-athletes in a tough bind this year.
While many are holding out hope for a spring season, others found innovative alternatives.
Among those who charted his own path was Kamehameha Schools quarterback Kiai Keone, who spent the fall playing football in Utah so he wouldn’t lose his senior year of eligibility.
“It’s frustrating because I know a lot of my friends and my guys been working hard ever since the summer and not being able to play, it’s frustrating not being able to have a season,” Keone said.
When faced with the possibility of no senior season, Keone wasn’t about to just wait around and miss out on college exposure.
“When you look at the signing days, early signing day is in December and regular signing day is in February, so I was just thinking like, how can we get looks for those days if you’re playing in March?” Keone said.
“It didn’t really make any sense to me. It’s hard for the people here that haven’t been playing and signing day is next month.”
Keone and his family worked out an arrangement with Kamehameha-Kapalama administration where he’d transfer to a school in Utah for the fall.
He ended up playing a full season at Skyridge High and landed college offers from schools in Colorado, California, and New Mexico.
“At the time, I was a little apprehensive of the move, but just looking back at it, it was probably the best decision I ever made in my life,” Keone said. “Just meeting new people, having a good experience and it’s definitely helped me grow as a person and as a player, it helped me out a lot.”
Keone is back on Oahu and will graduate from Kamehameha Schools this spring.
Hula Bowl exeuctive director Rich Miano is active in the high school sports community and while Keone’s story is a success, he feels for athletes who had to move at all or are at risk of losing college opportunities.
“It’s a sad story when you have these young athletes of all sports both genders trying to get financial aid, trying to get scholarships and that’s probably hundreds, if not thousands looking to pay it forward,” Miano said.
“Looking to to go college on the mainland without any sports, without any film with the logistical challenges we have for coaches to see these young athletes.”
Miano adds that he thinks more student-athletes would have relocated if they knew earlier their seasons would be canceled and he plans on organizing ways to help create exposure, whether it’d be combines, clinics or camps.
“We need anyone that works with these young people to continue to promote these athletes because to me a scholarship, financial aid, the experience of college is priceless,” Miano said.