The High School Division Debate

Bobby Curran
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Friday - March 02, 2011
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Though it’s generally conceded that classification in Hawaii high school sports is a good thing, there is much disagreement about who belongs in Division I or Division II. Farrington’s victory over Pahoa in the Boys Basketball Division II championship has proved a lightning rod for debate. Farrington is one of the OIA’s largest schools, and their participation in Division II has left many people incredulous.

In many states, classification is determined strictly by enrollment size. That clearly wouldn’t work in Hawaii, where Kahuku would be Division II based on numbers. Imagine the Red Raiders playing football against similarly sized schools. That’s a scary thought.

Generally, the classification system has worked and has provided a measure of competitive balance previously absent. Particularly galling to those offended by Farrington’s situation is the fact that this is its second DII title in four years. But it’s obvious that this develops in basketball more than in other sports; one or two exceptional players can greatly affect a team’s competitiveness. Since the OIA classifies by results, Farrington went up to DI for two years after its first DII championship before returning to DII this year.

“Our teams have not fared well in DII other than in basketball,” says OIA executive director Dwight Toyama. “Over the last six years we are 0-35 in championships in the other sports. You might say the system works too well.”

While Toyama accepts that the situation is not perfect, nobody has come up with a better system. “We are open to listening to improvements,” says Toyama. “Right now this is what we have - two-year cycles that determine classification by results.”

* As the University of Hawaii prepares for the upcoming WAC tournament, one of its players is making a strong bid for all conference honors: Senior forward Bill Amis has been hugely productive since returning from a foot injury. His steady presence and intensity have guided UH to several key wins in recent games. Amis has moved up to 11th in scoring, third in rebounding and first in blocked shots. While he was best known for a midrange game until this year, he has added power moves that have resulted in some thunderous dunks to round out his game. Coupled with the play of center Vander Joaquim, UH has the best rebounding tandem in WAC play. Both players will be pivotal if UH is to make a run in the conference tournament.

* Former UH basketball star Anthony Carter was included in the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to the N.Y. Knicks. That may be a career extender for Carter, who lost minutes to Ty Lawson as the backup point guard in Denver. The Knicks need a backup, so they can move Toney Douglas to shooting guard. Carter was inducted last week into the UH Circle of Honor.

* The excitement is back at Les Murakami Stadium where the Baseball ‘Bows sold out its first two games of the season. Crowds were excellent all four games of the opening series. This season could end up with the best attendance since the early 1990s.

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