‘No-contact’ rule of HHSAA elongates holding pattern

Last week, the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association broke the holding pattern they’ve been in for the previous month.

Early in the week, the HHSAA executive board approved the “no-contact period” through Tuesday, Aug. 18, which stated in the press release there will be no sports-specific activity allowed between high school coaches and student athletes.

Applicable start-date penalties for violations will be enforced according to HHSAA regulations, which include, but are not limited to, the suspension of a coach for a part of, or the entire, season, as reported in last week’s TGI.

The elongated silence bought time for the HHSAA to assess how other schools on the mainland succeeded or failed in following the new practice protocols that will be universally enforced.

Having full-contact practices and all-star games have failed on the mainland, and all you have to do is look at the COVID-19 statistics for proof of that.

Wait. Those have been taken away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the one bureaucracy paid to enforce and fight infectious agents.

By the time the “no-contact” rule expires on August 18, many events will transpire, and questions should be answered.

Implementing this “no-contact” rule accomplishes something significant — it buys time.

This isn’t just for the participants’ safety. This is for the protection of the coaches, assistant coaches, athletic directors and fans, who are all a part of the machine that is a multi-million-dollar engine that is the new age of athletic competition.

Headlines from all over the country showcase the contagious nature of COVID-19.

Thirty football players at LSU tested positive for the coronavirus, and Clemson had over 30 players in June test positive for COVID-19.

All across the mainland, the storyboard reads the same.

You see half of the football teams getting infected with COVID-19, and teams either suspending practices and games, or school boards holding back.

The long-standing rumor has been that football and volleyball, two of the main fall sports, will be pushed back to the spring.

Pushing sports back to the spring will create a logistical nightmare for players who are trying to get recruited, for recruiters whose jobs are to bring talented players to collegiate programs, and for main spring sports to compete financially with the heavy-hitting games of fall, such as football and basketball.

“Nightmare” is the operative word, and the real losers are usually the participants.

Those tweeners that are on the bubble but worthy of playing at the collegiate level may lose opportunities in the mix.

This may be a new reality that we shall face that could have residual impacts on collegiate programs and scholarship opportunities.

The trickle-down effect of everything will be ferocious and necessary as we move forward into the new age we live in.

“This is a significant change to our start-date calendar, as each school has determined summer activities,” stated HHSAA Executive Director Chris Chun.

“However, during this time, our executive board felt that this change was necessary to protect our student-athletes’ health and safety. This will still allow adequate time for conditioning, as our first contests for most fall sports are not slated to begin until at least mid-September.”

The waiting period is a necessary evil because the harsh reality of this lethal virus has already intruded.

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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