Budget cuts may force schools to cut JV programs
by Lanaly Cabalo – The Garden Island
A proposed 25 percent budget cut for athletics across the state may be the end of junior varsity athletics and some varsity sports in public schools.
Because of Gov. Linda Lingle’s spending restrictions on state agencies, the Board of Education is considering cutting certain sports to fit the budget.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the budget for athletics dropped from $4.2 million to a proposed $1 million. The move is projected to affect 6,000 students across the islands playing JV football, volleyball and basketball, and varsity judo and tennis for the other leagues.
If it is approved, at the Aug. 7 Board of Education meeting, the cuts will go into affect for the 2009-10 athletic calendar.
“That would be very harmful,” said Kaua‘i High School head football coach Derek Borrero, who has coached junior varsity football at Kaua‘i for eight years and JV basketball for five.
“The kids playing JV, their ages are 14 and 15 years old. This is a crucial time in their lives and a crucial time for their parents. To eliminate JV and eliminate the coaches… this is a time where they’re going to find something to do. It will have a ripple effect on the community. There’s going to be more mischief in the community,” Borrero said.
Cutting the program would affect 58 football players at Kaua‘i and roughly 30 at Waimea High School.
“We have a lot of 5-foot-2, 120-pound guys here,” said Waimea head football coach Kyle Linoz. “I think it would hurt the little guys. I don’t think they’d be coming out.”
But Linoz said it wouldn’t be hard for him and his coaching staff to expand its varsity roster to add the players who would have otherwise played JV.
“I don’t think it would be hard for us to do,” Linoz said. “We (coaches) would just have to learn how to coach so many kids at one time. We’re not used to having that many out on the field at the same time.”
Waimea principal Larry Kaliloa said he believes this will have a negative impact on the kids and the community.
“We (the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation board) were thinking of adding more — JV baseball — but now this,” Kaliloa said. “With the boys, with football, you can only carry so many players on the team. Where will (the younger) kids get the training they need before getting to the varsity program?”
That’s a question newly appointed Island School volleyball coach Stan Lazaro also posed. Lazaro had been a JV volleyball coach at Waimea for the past three years.
“JV has always been a feeder for varsity, and if we don’t have that, it will take out something positive,” Lazaro said.
Island School, because of its private school status, will not be affected because they are not subjected to the governor’s budget cuts. But it would affect their athletic schedule.
The school just recently expanded its athletic program.
Head of School Bob Springer said: “I don’t know what we’ll do. We’re not cutting anything. We might arrange games with various clubs in the community because I know they’re out there. But all I can say is that we will try to build as rich a program as we can and work cooperatively with the Department of Education.”
Kapa‘a High School’s girls volleyball coach Gary Maguire said he thinks the cutting of JV programs might affect the athletes in the long run.
“The first couple years are important because some of the kids are coming out for the first time,” he said.
Maguire said that kids with less experience would be at a disadvantage to those who come from programs with JV and that it may affect their scholarship opportunities.
However, certain girls’ sports will not be affected because of Title IX. Girls’ JV soccer, softball, paddling and bowling will not be cut because they fall under a different program to meet the schools’ gender-equity requirements.
KIF Executive Secretary Diane Nitta said the league is fine for now and said the question was how to deal with cuts and which sports to cut.
“If we have to do this,” she said, “we’re just going to have to do what we can.”
Nitta also said the cuts mainly deal with coaches’ salaries.
“When it comes to equipment, we can get by. When it comes to facilities, we can get by, but it’s the coaches,” she said.
Borrero said that if it comes down to cutting the salaries or cutting the program, he’d cut the salaries.
“We don’t need to get paid,” he said. “Let’s not get paid. It’s not about the money. We coaches are not here for the money. We’re here because we love the sport. We love the kids and we enjoy it. If coaches are using JV for money, they are using the wrong vehicle for income.”
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or email@example.com