Recommended Guidelines for Return to Activity

AIA's Executive Board has endorsed guidelines in preparation for potential return to competition in the fall.

First 2017-18 AIA board meeting notes

August 22, 2017 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

New Arizona Interscholastic Association executive director David Hines provided a couple of important updates during the first meeting of the 2017-18 school year for the AIA’s Executive Board.

The AIA will interview four finalists on Aug. 30 for the AIA's State Commissioner of Officials position, and will introduce Gary Whelchel’s replacement in the September board meeting, Hines said Monday. Whelchel is retiring after 16 years of service with the AIA.

Also, Hines said during his report to the board that 286 of the 294 state’s athletic directors (97 percent), 213 of the 240 football coaches (88 percent) and 923 of the 1,072 fall season coaches (86 percent) attended the AIA's summer meetings. It is the first time that the AIA has organized mandatory preseason meetings for its coaches and athletic directors.

For coaches and administrators who can’t attend future meetings, the AIA would like them to at least send a representative. The AIA is working on posting a video on for coaches and athletic directors who can’t travel to the Valley for the meetings.

Financial report

AIA Director of Finance Denise Doser presented the May, June and July AIA financial statements as well as a year-end analysis, which the board approved Monday.

“We (AIA) exceeded our expectations and will be able to transfer revenue to reserve,” said Doser near the end of her report.

As expected by the AIA and Doser, the 2016-17 gross revenue total was lower than the 2015-16 fiscal year, as the revenue from the sectional basketball tournaments was retained by the member schools hosting those events.

Without including the sectionals, there was, however, an increase in the annual attendance to state events, Doser said. The winter state tournaments yielded the majority (42.4 percent) of the 2016-17 state tournament gate receipts.

At 39.5 percent, the fall tournaments were next and then the spring tournaments (18.1 percent).

NFHS liaison report

As the AIA’s liaison to the National Federation of State High School Associations, Dr. Anna Battle, who attended the summer NFHS meetings in Rhode Island, gave her first report to the board.

Dr. Battle said that the NFHS recently posted a statement opposing the rankings of the Stringer Institute, which ranked the state association’s requirements for keeping athletes safe from life-threatening conditions. In her report, Dr. Battle also stated that the NFHS adopted a position statement, requesting the NCAA to avoid playing football games on Friday nights, when high schools mostly schedule their football games.

Hines noted that the close relationships the AIA has with some of the in-state universities has helped keep universities from playing on Fridays. Hines and new AIA assistant executive director Joe Paddock have a meeting scheduled with new University of Arizona athletic director Dave Heek.

National postseason tournaments continue to be a hot topic for the NFHS and state executive directors, Dr. Battle added. At the moment, it appears that the NFHS and most of the executive directors are opposed to national championship-type events.

The AIA has allowed teams to participate in national events as long as they are board approved.


The AIA’s executive board will determine on Aug. 29 if the Great Hearts Academies can use an accreditation agency that’s not listed in the AIA's bylaws.

During Monday’s meeting, the board also denied the requests of the Mohave boys swim and Chinle wrestling programs to move down a division. The board ruled that it was not fair to allow the programs to move during the middle of a two-year scheduling block.

  1. The board also denied the 2A Metro West Region’s request to have its own tie-breaking procedure for games. A tie-breaking rule already exists for every conference.

Board approved items

Besides the financial report, the following agenda items were also approved:

—4A Conference request for a 16-team double elimination state tournament for baseball and softball in 2018.

—3A Conference proposal to change fall volleybal dates. The 3A Conference’s regular season will end on Oct. 26 instead of Oct. 24, and all region tournaments will conclude on Oct. 28. The play-in games will be played on Oct. 31 at high seeds at 6 p.m. instead of Oct. 26. The 3A state tournament will start on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 as proposed by the AIA. During the Oct. 28 state volleyball bracket show, the top-8 seeds and play-in matches for 3A will be released.

—A one-season exception for Red Mountain, Cesar Chavez and Sunnyslope to exceed the game limit so they can participate in the Hoophall Tournament on Dec. 9. The 6A Conference approved the requests of Red Mountain and Cesar Chavez prior to Monday’s board meeting.

—Show Low’s soccer request to participate in a tournament in Nevada a few days before the start of the AIA fall season for small schools.

—Phoenix Day School for the Deaf’s request to extend their football season in order to play California School for the Deaf on Oct. 21.

—Antelope Union’s request to cancel its Sept. 1 football game against Kofa was granted. But Antelope Union will have to pay a $1,500 cancellation fee to Kofa.

—The travel and exchange visa program agenda item that reaffirms and lists the official minutes and reflects the 2017-18 edition of the Advisory List, prepared by the Council of Standards for International Education Travel.

—The student eligibility appeal/requests for hardship eligibility under the legal guardian bylaw from Hamilton, Perry and Marana Mountain View.

—The student eligibility appeal/requests for hardship eligibility under the age rule exemption bylaw from Highland, Cactus Shadows and Snowflake.

  1. ---Student eligibility appeal/request for hardship eligibility under the maximum participation rule by Perry.

—Forty-three AIA lifetime passes requests.

—The approval of new AIA staff members, sports information coordinator Seth Polansky and web developer Reiquan Garrison.

—The sanction requests for the 2017-18 master calendar.

—The minutes/agendas of the 1A Central and North Regions, 2A Conference and 3A Conference.

—The cancellation requests from six programs and two Notre Dame cross country contests.

—Additional game requests from 25 schools.

—Request to hold the annual AIA Legislative Council Meeting on March 2. The deadline for submitting Legislative Council agenda items is Jan. 26, and the agenda mail-out deadline is Feb. 1.

School violations

The AIA’s member schools are required to self-report bylaw violations they committed.

Each month, the AIA executive board reviews those violations and recommends a punishment (advisement, warning or probation). An advisement is a word of caution.

A warning places a school in jeopardy of being placed on probation if another violation of any rule or regulation is committed. A school will not be eligible for the Overall Excellence Award during a warning period.

If a school or one of its sports programs is placed on probation, that school/program is ineligible for the postseason and will not receive any award for achievement in that sport. A school is not eligible also for the Overall Excellence Award during its probation period.

These were the most recent violations that schools reported to the AIA:

Advisment for Glendale Prep’s baseball program. Glendale Prep and Tempe Prep ended their baseball 2017 spring game after failing to complete a game as outlined in the National Federation Baseball Rule Book. The score was 18-1 and Glendale Prep had run out of pitchers after the fourth inning ended.

Advisement for Lee Williams’ boys basketball program. A student from Kingman High participated in an open basketball gym session at Lee Williams. The coach for Lee Williams was in attendance. Students that are not enrolled at a school are not allowed to participate in recreational activities offered by that school.

Advisement for Coconino’s baseball program. On March 12 and 19 and May 7, an assistant baseball coach threw batting practice to a few players. Teams aren’t allowed to practice on Sundays during the school year.