Adrian Huff has been ruled ineligible by the Big Island Interscholastic Federation to play baseball in his senior year for Keaau, and it’s not because of academics or injury.
Huff, a starting pitcher and center fielder, is eligible to play according to age and academics, but the BIIF’s executive board of principals ruled him ineligible because he is in his ninth semester.
The BIIF and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, which runs the state tournaments, follow the same rule that allows a student-athlete to have eight consecutive semesters since entering the ninth grade to be eligible.
However, Huff is in his ninth semester because in his native country of Brazil the school year starts in February instead of July, the starting time for Hawaii. He moved to the Big Island last year as a junior.
A formal appeal was denied before the BIIF season.
“We feel he is being discriminated upon because he came from another country where timetables differ from ours,” Keaau coach Herb Yasuhara said. “Adrian is being penalized because in Brazil, his peers have graduated in December and here in Hawaii he has gone to school longer than his peers. What has he done wrong? Nothing, except for being a foreigner.
“This is my 35th year of coaching high school athletics. I have never been so disappointed in any ruling that I am with this one. Hopefully, in the future, situations like this do not happen again.”
Konawaena principal Shaun Suzuku, chairman of the executive board, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Yasuhara said Huff, who first played baseball last year, has aspirations to play baseball in college.
“He took it hard, but he’s like our manager now,” Yasuhara said.