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AIA Director Recommends January Start for Winter Sports

November 19, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballHockeySoccerSwimmingWrestling
The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) executive director, David Hines, recommended high school sports competition won’t start until January, AZCentral.com reported.

The recommendation was sent to the AIA executive board earlier in the week with a surge of COVID-19 positive cases hitting the state.

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Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Practice for winter sports began on November 9 for the counties, districts, and schools that met the standard to start. Those schools can continue to practice until further notice, the AIA said according to AZCentral.com. Though teams are still allowed to practice, no specific start dates have been proposed for the sports — including boys and girls basketball, soccer, and wrestling.

“The information and statistics gathered at this meeting will be shared with the Executive Board at a meeting yet to be determined for a vote,” an AIA issued press release stated. “The recommendation is to have the competition season begin sometime in January with the two weeks of mandatory AIA practice to take place before competition can begin.”

Hines will meet with state health and education officials later in the week to discuss the rising infection and positivity rates around The Grand Canyon State. The fall sports season was also pushed back and, despite numerous cancellations due to positive COVID-19 tests, there has been no pause, AZCentral.com reported.

AZCentral.com spoke to various winter coaches and school administrators to get a feel for their thoughts on the decision.

“I like the plan if they stick to it but I also don’t want this to be false hope on a season. Our athletes deserve better than that. With that being said, we are going to continue to prepare for the season the right way.” Andra Rogers, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor boys basketball head coach

“Even though it has been challenging in the fall, our students got the opportunity to have a season. I am hoping the same thing happens for winter and spring sports.” Chris Knusten, superintendent of Florence Public Schools

“I applaud the AIA for being proactive in this. There were just too many schools out there that were not able to start practices and the numbers were not getting better.” John Venega, Kingman High School athletic director

To read the full report from AZCentral.com on the latest guidelines and updates from the AIA on the winter sports season, click here