Arizona’s neighboring states California and New Mexico have now both announced moves of their high school fall seasons to the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arizona’s high schools are slated to begin its fall sports on Aug. 24 with golf. Football and volleyball are supposed to start the week of Sept. 7-11. Cross country as of now is not affected and is scheduled to begin its meets Sept. 2.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey set the opening date for schools at Aug. 17 although many school districts are starting before that date with online instruction. The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced last week that fall competition can still take place if students are not on campus and taking online courses only.
The Arizona high school football season was originally slated to begin Aug. 20 when Mountain View and Marana were to meet in their rivalry game, but the start of the season was pushed back after Ducey’s Aug. 17 date for schools opening their campuses.
As many as 18 local high school football coaches locally have put their names on a letter to the AIA requesting planning for a spring season if the fall season is canceled.
California’s move of fall sports to the spring was announced this morning with common sports with Arizona such as golf and cross country completing their seasons in March and football in April. That would make the start of the seasons in December through February.
“This is the best possible plan we have with what’s going on to give students an opportunity to participate,” Vicky Lagos, the Los Angeles City Section commissioner, was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times. “There are going to be issues in terms of facilities and multiple-sport athletes, but this is the best scenario for the most people. I have confidence the schools and coaches will work it out among themselves. My take from coaches is they want the opportunity to participate and be with the kids.”
High school football practice in California was scheduled to begin Aug. 3, with games Aug. 21. Girls’ volleyball, cross-country, boys’ water polo, girls’ golf, girls’ tennis and field hockey also are fall sports casualties forced to be delayed.
The CIF will allow athletes to participate on club teams at the same time of their high school seasons in a temporary suspension of CIF rules. Local districts can have a stricter rule.
The New Mexico Activities Association released its revised 2020-21 athletic calendar last week and it calls for football to start Feb. 22 with a three-round playoff format beginning April 23. Eight games would be played in the regular season.
Soccer, a winter sport deemed a contact activity, has also been moved to the spring. Non-contact sports such as volleyball and cross country are under review and will “likely” have delayed starts to their seasons, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham told the press.
Baboquivari, a Class 1A school located in Sells at the Tohono O’odham Reservation, became the first Southern Arizona high school on Tuesday to cancel sports in the fall.
It is one of 13 high schools in Arizona that have canceled fall sports, including football. The list includes Buckeye Odyssey Institute, Ganado, Kayenta Monument Valley, Fort Defiance Window Rock, Whiteriver Alchesay, Keams Canyon Hopi, Sanders Valley, Greyhills Academy, Many Farms, Shonto Prep, Rock Point and St. Michaels.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.