HHSAA creates Open Division, football will host 3-division tournament this season

Breaking news blared in the world of Hawaii High School Football Monday evening as multiple sources told KHON2 that starting this season, the Hawaii High School Athletics Association will host a three-tier system to make up the HHSAA football tournament.

That stems from the creation of an Open Division, which will feature the final four teams in the OIA Division I tournament and the top two teams from the ILH.

Saint Louis Linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia
Saint Louis Linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia

The next four finishing teams in the OIA will then go into the 8-team Division I tournament joining one team from the ILH (Sources say Kamehameha, Punahou, and Saint Louis are not eligible for this tournament, this season it appears Iolani will receive that lone ILH spot), two teams from the BIIF, and one team from the MIL.

Meanwhile, the Division II tournament will be made up with the final two teams in the OIA tournament, and the league champions from the ILH, BIIF, MIL, and KIF.

The hosting of the tournaments in regards to location is still being sorted out.

Here is a visual breakdown of the tournaments in regards to league participation.


4 – OIA
2 – ILH


4 – OIA
1 – ILH (Kamehameha, Saint Louis, Punahou are not eligible)
2 – BIIF
1 – MIL


2 – OIA
1 – ILH
1 – KIF
1 – BIIF
1 – MIL

The following is the official press release from HHSAA:

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association board approved a one-year pilot for a three-tier football state championship format, which will go into effect this season. Under the new structure, the addition of an Open Division will consist of six teams, with an eight-team Division I bracket and a six-team Division II bracket.

The Open Division will be made up of the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s top four teams, with the Interscholastic League of Honolulu’s top three programs playing for the final two spots.

Based on the league representation formula, the Division I tournament will be composed of four teams from the OIA, an ILH representative, two representatives from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, and one representative from the Maui Interscholastic League.

The Division II tournament will comprise of two OIA representatives, and one each from the remaining four leagues, including the Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion.

The decision came after several months of talks between the leagues, with preparation for the possibility of this outcome to materialize as early as this season.

The three-week state tournament kicks off Friday, Nov. 4, with the first round, and wraps up Friday, Nov. 18 with Division II/Division I championships doubleheader, and Saturday, Nov. 19 with the Open Division championship.

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