To this point, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented far more problems than stable solutions for sports at all levels around the world.
Here in Arizona, the Arizona high school fall football calendar is scheduled but remains muddy as we approach the end of July.
AIA Executive Director David Hines re-confirmed last week the football season will start September 11th following the mandated 3-4 week training period after in-person schooling commences on August 17th.
Monday morning Hines sat down to discuss a number of topics regarding the upcoming season with Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat.
Regardless of when high school football, or any fall sport starts, Hines is adamant on one thing.
“We want our kids to have the opportunity to participate in their sport without losing what we did last year in the spring,” he stated without hesitation to Cesmat.
The AIA is keeping an open mind when it comes to a number of potential safety concerns this fall, including scheduled long bus trips for travel as we see during the season with Casteel hosting Boulder Creek, Queen Creek trekking to Peoria to take on defending 6A State Champion Liberty, Horizon traveling to Maricopa and many more.
“All of those things are being considered,” Hines explained. “When we’re looking at schedules we have reenacted the football classification committee that looked at all this re-scheduling…depending on which way we want to go, we can adjust schedules…nothing that we have is off the table at this point.”
There is also the issue of some, like all the Tucson public high schools and the Phoenix Union School District members who have done little, if any, in-person team training dating back to March or even earlier in some cases.
How will the AIA balance the health and safety of those teams with just a 3-4 week ramp up to games if the season starts as planned on September 11th?
“I would say we are going to be old school,” Hines said. “Back when I coached and I played we did not have access to our kids or our coaches during the summer. Practice started on the first day of practice. You had three or four weeks to get ready for the first game.”
Hines also mentioned they are still planning on having an Open Division Playoff this season.