KIF, county discuss football times

Having moved its football games to accommodate the island’s endangered birds last season, the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation is in discussions to have a staggered schedule for the 2011 season, though returning to Friday night lights full time is not currently a possibility and all games are slated to take place on Saturdays.

The KIF executive board met with the county Tuesday morning to “revisit the possibility of having some late afternoon games as we did last season,” said KIF Executive Director Diane Nitta.

Those discussions centered around creating a different set of kickoff times during each round of the regular season. The nine-game season is split up into three rounds with three games apiece.

Nitta said that the current proposal would have just the first-round varsity games kick off at 7 p.m., with the junior varsity playing at 4:30 p.m.

The second round would then move up the varsity to a 3 p.m. start, with JV beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The third round would back up a bit, with varsity beginning at 4:30 p.m. and JV at 2 p.m.

All pre-season games will begin at 7 p.m.

The decision to have all games played on Saturdays was made by the KIF executive board at an April 26 meeting, Nitta said.

The change to last season’s schedule was to avoid interfering with the Newell’s Shearwater during its “fledgling” season, when it could become confused by the stadium lights. The endangered birds are typically guided by the moon and become disoriented with the illuminated lights.

Penalties that can be levied upon the county have increased since last season, Nitta said.

“Last year it was a $10,000 (fine) for causing a ‘take’ and this year it will be a $10,000 fine for ‘harassment,’ ” she said. That went into the KIF Board’s decision to “avoid the possibility of incurring any fine and have games end, including clean-up time, prior to sunset.”

The league will be monitoring sunset times between Sept. 17 and Nov. 12 — weeks there are KIF games during the fledgling season — to insure it will not need to turn on the stadium lights in order to do stadium clean-up following football.

On April 18, the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association announced that its state championship finals will be played Nov. 26, which then allowed the KIF to move backwards from that date with its scheduling.

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