CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Two U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League games have been postponed due to transportation problems and military duty, the fifth and sixth games called off since Aug. 6.
Commissioner Joseph Howell, who announced his intention of resigning after just one season, asked league coaches this week if they wanted to shorten or extend the regular season.
Howell told Stars and Stripes he was leaning toward starting the playoffs early, in part because the Marine teams have told him it would be difficult for them to travel in the next few weeks.
“I don’t want to extend the season because I don’t see all these games being played anyway,” Howell said.
In an e-mail Wednesday, Howell presented league coaches with two options:
¶ Extend the season beyond Sept. 6 to allow all postponed games to be played. Playoffs would start in late September, perhaps October — the latest any Japan interservice season has lagged since teams began playing a summer schedule in 1994.
¶ Truncate the season, with teams taking their current records into the playoffs. On Sept. 6, the third-place Misawa Marauders (4-2) would visit Kadena, with the winner traveling to Yokosuka the next week.
In his e-mail, Howell gave coaches until the close of business Friday to respond. A decision was not expected until after the weekend.
The most recent postponements included Yokosuka (4-1) against Futenma (0-5) on Friday, and Atsugi (3-2) at Kadena (4-2) on Saturday.
Yokosuka Naval Base athletics director Kyle Rhodus said the Naval Aviation Logistic Operations flight scheduled to fly the Seahawks to Okinawa had been canceled, leaving the team with no way to get to the island.
And according to coach Isaac Lee, the Seahawks couldn’t get enough players off duty to make the trip.
The same transportation fate hit the White Dolphins, who in an e-mail to Howell said their NALO flight also had been called off, leaving Atsugi with no transportation.
Atsugi’s scheduled game Wednesday against Courtney-Hansen was called off because of duty and transportation problems, and a game Aug. 16 against Yokosuka was postponed due to lack of field availability at Atsugi Naval Air Facility.
Seven games have been postponed because of military commitments, transportation or field availability problems this season, and 35 have been canceled, forfeited or called off since the start of the 2000 season.