By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
A schedule switch for the 2013-14 school year will allow all prep football and basketball teams to play each other in a round-round format in those respective sports.
The Big Island Interscholastic Federation athletic directors approved those changes during a meeting in late May. It means the league will no longer use the East/West format that had been used in those sports in the past few years.
Last year in football, the BIIF’s Division I and II teams played each other twice in a division-only format, leading to the league championships.
Kealakehe claimed the D-I title and advanced to the state playoffs during the 2012-13 season. The same schools that competed in D-I last year will do so again in 2013-14. They are Kealakehe, Hilo, Keaau and Waiakea.
Konawaena captured the D-II title and advanced to the state playoffs last year. The same schools that competed in D-II — Konawaena, Kamehameha, Hawaii Prep, Honokaa, Kohala and Ka’u — will battle again this coming season.
But the change means that each team will play one another, regardless of division, in a nine-game schedule, followed by the divisional championships.
“Every game will count no matter who you play,” BIIF executive director Lyle Crozier said.
In boys and girls basketball for the 2013-14 seasons, each team will play one another in a 10-game schedule leading to the BIIF playoffs. The East/West format was adopted for four seasons to save on transportation costs. But that system was criticized by some coaches for limiting the quality of opponents during the regular season, taking away some traditional rivalries — like Hilo vs. Kohala, and not helping to prepare their teams for the state tournaments.
“In 2008, we had a 50 percent reduction in our budgets and had to adopt the East/West format to save money,” Crozier said. “But since that time, we’ve gradually gotten some of that money back and now with football and basketball moving back to the old schedule, all BIIF sports will be playing that way.”
Crozier also noted that the regular-season champions in basketball will earn an automatic berth to the state tournament. If the regular-season champion also wins the league tournament, the BIIF tournament runner-up would get the league’s other state-tourney berth.
“A lot of coaches wanted the change,” Crozier said. “They felt by playing everybody in the BIIF it gave them a tougher regular-season schedule and helped them get ready for the state tournament. Now, every game will count and can help you get a better seeding in the BIIF tournament.”
In other BIIF news, Crozier announced:
• The BIIF will allow juniors to compete on the junior varsity level in 2013-14 in all sports. Previously, only schools with enrollments of 350 students or less were allowed to let juniors play JV.
“We felt this amended rule would help a lot of the schools and maybe produce a few more JV teams,” Crozier said. “After all, junior varsity is about participation and we wanted to give the student-athletes as many opportunities as we can to participate.”
• Christian Liberty Academy and St. Joseph will combine players for a girls soccer team and in boys and girls volleyball. The combined team will be called East-PAC.
BIIF football schedule
JV and varsity: 5 p.m. JV; varsity, 30 minutes after JV game ends.
Varsity only: 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Sat, Aug 10: Waiakea at Hawaii Prep, 2 p.m.; Kalaheo at Kamehameha, 7 p.m.
Sat, Aug. 17: Waimea at Hawaii Prep, 2 p.m.; King Kekaulike at Kamehameha, 1 p.m.; Konawaena at Maui, 7 p.m.; Honokaa at Keaau; Waiakea JV at Keaau JV.
Sat, Aug. 24: Kealakehe at Kamehameha-Oahu; Kamehameha at Iolani, 2 p.m.; Honokaa at Waiakea, 3 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 30: Keaau at Honokaa; Konawaena at Ka’u; Hawaii Prep at Hilo; Kealakehe JV at Hilo JV.
Sat., Aug. 31: Kamehameha at Waiakea; Kealakehe at Kohala.
Fri., Sept. 6: Hilo at Honokaa; Ka’u at Kamehameha; Kealakehe JV at Kamehameha JV.
Sat., Sept. 7: Konawaena at Keaau; Kealakehe at Hawaii Prep; Waiakea at Kohala.
Fri., Sept. 13: Hilo at Konawaena, Honokaa at Kamehameha; Waiakea JV at Kamehameha JV.
Sat., Sept. 14: Waiakea at Hawaii Prep; Kohala at Keaau; Ka’u at Kealakehe.
Fri., Sept. 20: Hilo at Ka’u; Waiakea at Konawaena.
Sat., Sept. 21: Hawaii Prep at Keaau; Honokaa at Kohala; Kamehameha at Kealakehe.
Fri, Sept. 27: Kealakehe at Hilo; Konawaena at Kamehameha; Keaau at Ka’u.
Sat., Sept. 28: Kohala at Hawaii Prep; Honokaa at Waiakea; Keaau JV at Waiakea JV.
Fri., Oct. 4: Hawaii Prep at Konawaena; Ka’u at Waiakea; Hilo JV at Waiakea JV.
Sat., Oct. 5: Keaau at Kamehameha; Kohala at Hilo; Honokaa at Kealakehe; Konawaena JV at Kealakehe JV.
Fri., Oct. 11: Keaau at Kealakehe; Konawaena at Honokaa; Hawaii Prep at Ka’u.
Sat., Oct. 12: Waiakea at Hilo, Kamehameha at Kohala.
Fri., Oct. 18: Kohala at Konawaena, Ka’u at Honokaa.
Sat., Oct. 19: Kamehameha at Hawaii Prep; Hilo at Keaau; Kealakehe at Waiakea.
Fri., Oct. 25: Kealakehe at Konawaena; Hilo at Kamehameha.
Sat., Oct. 26: Waiakea at Keaau; Ka’u at Kohala; Hawaii Prep at Honokaa.
Fri., Nov. 1: BIIF championship, No. 2 at No. 1
Sat., Nov. 2: BIIF Championship, No. 2 at No. 1
Nov. 8-9: HHSAA first round
Nov. 15-16: HHSAA semifinals
Nov. 22-23: HHSAA championships