Rob DeMello, Sam Spangler, and Billy Hull from Hawaii Prep World spent some time after Cover2 Thursday to discuss Kaiser High School’s canceled football season, and how it could have been avoided.
This is not about the “he said, she said.” The Cover2 team wanted to delve deeper into how to prevent another situation like Kaiser from happening again.
Hull says this isn’t just one person’s fault. It was foreshadowed last year that Kaiser would have a tough season.
In December or January, the school had a feeling the team couldn’t be competitive with a Division I schedule and was looking at their options. However, at the start of the season, things remained the same and the team forfeited games due to the lack of players.
The Cover2 team agreed that the current format of two varsity divisions on Oahu isn’t working.
DeMello asked if schools should be allowed to look at their roster of players and make a determination of what they could handle as a team before the year starts.
Spangler brought up that more competitive games would result in more players wanting to play, because no one wants to get blown out. He brought up the Pac-5 model in the ILH where smaller schools could combine their players to make a larger team.
Spangler also said that small schools have many players playing on both sides of the ball, and that’s a health risk. It’s just not safe, especially playing against teams that aren’t on the same level.
DeMello also brought up eight-man football, like they have in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF) and Maui Interscholastic League (MIL). He also highlighted that on Oahu, we’ve already seen Anuenue close its football programs, and McKinley pulled its varsity squad two years ago due to the lack of players.
Hull said that kids want to play, but some schools just don’t have the players. He mentioned that one of the issues was linemen — an eight-man league wouldn’t need as many.
DeMello then brought up the point that having one Oahu league would make this decision easier, but what was the reality in that happening?
Hull said there was a lot of history and discussions around combining the OIA and ILH, but there are a lot of variables.
But if we don’t look at options and solutions, we may have more Kaiser situations.
As Spangler pointed out, the only question we really need to ask is, “What’s best for the kids?”
Spangler also thought that having a bunch of tiers would help not only the lower levels, but the higher levels as well, as their competition would be tougher.
The Cover2 team asks what do you think?
The discussion doesn’t end, and it should involve everyone because talking about now may help the community come up with solutions.