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AIA Moves Forward with Recommended Guidelines; Pima County Still on Hold

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Executive Board met on Wednesday to set policy based on the recommended guidelines set forth by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SPAC). The SPAC has deemed it safe enough for high schools to conduct fall competition provided schools follow its COVID-19 guidelines.

It’s a fluid guideline and can be updated, as it has three times.

The document will be made as soon as possible. Conferences can set deadlines for schools to enter. Check azpreps365.com.

The Pima County school districts sent a letter stating those schools will not schedule competitions until the local county health department gives the nod to move forward. This letter does not address practices however. Subsequently, the area schools, besides Salpointe and Pusch Ridge, have not been placed in any regions or schedules and will most likely play against each other once they move forward.

Other Southern Arizona small schools like Benson and Bisbee have been placed on schedules by the conference committees.

The AIA has football slated to begin with practices with helmets on Mon., Sept. 7 with the schedule of varsity football games beginning Oct. 2. Outside of Pima County, golf has begun competition and cross country, swimming & diving, badminton, fall soccer and volleyball have started practice and tryouts.

“I would like to say on behalf of the staff and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, especially for the sport of football, we would not have been able to make this decision until this time right now based on the metrics,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines in a release. “So the metrics have gotten to a place that we can start football practice. That we can start the heat acclimatization (guidelines). That we can get kids in a helmet and shoulder pads and begin doing work.”
 
Qualifications to advance to the postseason in each fall sport have been modified. Those qualifications are currently being reviewed and will appear on the tournament pages on AZPreps365.com when ready, along with season dates and team schedules.

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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